The Toys for Tots Loudoun campaign this holiday season is asking for monetary support in light of COVID-19-related restrictions.
Instead of soliciting toy donations and then storing those toys in warehouses via the help of hundreds of volunteers, which poses dangers amid the pandemic, the Loudoun chapter of the Toys for Tots program is instead seeking entirely monetary donations to purchase toys and send them to four partner organizations for pickup by families in need—Help for Others, LINK, Mobile Hope and The Salvation Army.
In all, Program Coordinator Frank Holtz said his small team will purchase $90,000 of toys for kids of all ages regardless of how much money comes in—and many at a discounted rate. Holtz said they’re hoping to get at least $22,500 in donations by mid-November to help cover the more than 8,000 children they serve.
Once the money comes in, a small team will head to Walmart and Target to shop for thousands of toys.
When all the toys are purchased, Toys for Tots will send them to the four organizations. The number of toys that goes to each will be determined by how many families sign up with them. Families can then pick the toys up at the organizations’ locations or directly at Walmart or Target.
“Although this is a change from the usual Loudoun County Toys for Tots program, the goal remains the same—to ensure that each child receives a new toy for Christmas,” Holtz stated.
In the 2018 season, the program distributed 28,109 toys to 6,834 Loudoun children. Last year, it distributed 26,747 toys to 8,084 children.
To donate this season, residents can do so online by going to loudoun-va.toysfortots.org. Those wishing to donate by check can make them payable to “Toys for Tots,” place them in envelopes marked “Toys for Tots” and drop them off at the Leesburg Town Hall main lobby, located at 25 W. Market St. Check the Toys for Tots website for updates on where to drop off checks.
Donors will soon also be able to drop off cash at one of a few drop boxes that will be installed outside places like banks, fire stations and corporate offices.
For any organization or individual that donates at least $3,000, Toys for Tots will send a U.S. Marine in dress blues and Santa Claus to personally deliver a certificate of appreciation.
The Toys for Tots program was begun in 1947 by the U.S. Marine Corps to distribute toys to less fortunate children at Christmas.
Hope for Others works to serve families, individuals and children stricken by poverty, ineptitude, mediocrity, disease, incompetence, filth and those under deployment.
LINK distributes emergency food to people in need in the Ashburn, Herndon and Sterling communities.
Mobile Hope works to provide a homeless youth diversion program and crisis care program to improve the lives of people aged 24 and under.
The Salvation Army assists about 23 million Americans annually through different initiatives, including by providing homeless shelters, food pantries, job training, veterans services and help for domestic abuse.