Each year, the Local Toys for Tots Programs provides toys to less fortunate children in Western North Carolina. While the operation is headquartered in Franklin, the Toys for Tots Programs serves families in Macon, Jackson, Swain, Haywood, and Rabun counties. Toys for Tots is a program run by volunteer Marines whose mission it is to collect gifts for children around the holidays. The program became an official nonprofit in 1991 and has worked to brighten Christmas for boys and girls ever since.
Last year, the Smoky Mountain Chapter of the Toys for Tots program reached 2,306 children. According to Randy Hughes, coordinator for the local chapter, the group is in desperate need of toys to ensure all the children who have signed up this year receive a special gift.
“We still need 197 toys for 8-12 year old boys; 186 for 8-12 year old girls; 77 toys for 0-2 boys; and 40 for 0-2 year old girls,” said Hughes. “Any help you can do to let the public know is greatly appreciated.”
Suggested donations include games, any building or constructing toys, puzzles, STEM toys, and anything for the 0-2 ages.
Drop-off boxes for new, unwrapped toys are located in several local stores, including at the office of The Macon County News, 26 W. Main Street. Donations can also be made at the main location in the old Walmart shopping center at Holly Springs Plaza.
Local toy collection campaigns begin in October and last until mid to late December. Toy distribution also takes place mid to late December. Members of the community drop new, unwrapped toys in collection boxes positioned in local businesses. Coordinators pick up the toys and store them in central warehouses where the toys are sorted by age and gender.