Toys galore collected at Tropicana Toys for Tots event
LAUGHLIN - Visitors and employees of the Tropicana Express Hotel and Casino got into the Christmas spirit by donating hundreds of toys that will be distributed to needy children in Laughlin and Northwest Arizona.
The Tropicana hosted the toy drive and challenged every person visiting the casino to bring in $10 cash or a $10 unwrapped toy and get their choice of $10 free play or table game bet. Various Tropicana departments and employees also got into the Christmas spirit and donated toys.
More than $3,500 cash was collected by the casino and was given to the Southern Nevada and Northwest Arizona Toys for Tots program and the Bullhead City Salvation Army.
"The $1,782.82 check presented to us by the Tropicana will be utilized to purchase much-needed toys that will be distributed to local children," said Earl Jones, area coordinator for Toys for Tots program.
"Last year, more than 6,000 needy children received toys through our efforts in Laughlin, Mohave Valley, Bullhead City, Kingman, Golden Valley, Dolan Springs, Chloride and Yucca," said Jones, who retired as a master sergeant after serving 30 years as a United States Marine.
"All of the toys donated by the Tropicana, and those by other residents and businesses throughout this holiday season, will stay in the local area and won't be shipped out to other cities and states," he said.
The Bullhead City Salvation Army that serves Golden Valley, Laughlin, Bullhead City and all points south to Topoc, was also the recipient of a $1,782.82 check from the Tropicana.
"The funds received this year from the Tropicana will be used to purchase items for our Christmas Food Box program," said Corps Officer Captain John Desplancke, who heads up the Salvation Army facility in Bullhead City. "Even though we are out of the toy distribution business for Christmas, we have been collecting names of families who are in need of toys for their children.
"All of the names of the needy children in our area of responsibility have been turned over to the Bullhead City Fire Department," Desplancke said. "The fire department will be passing out toys to those needy children."
Desplancke indicated that in addition to the local Christmas Food Box Program, the Salvation Army is always there for individuals who are in need of emergency food assistance.
Bullhead City Fire Department officials have been in contact with Jones and he ensured them those needy children in their area will receive toys for Christmas if they provide him the list of needy children.
Clark County Fire Department personnel stationed in the Laughlin area will also be distributing toys to needy children as they have done previously. Sheri Smith-Hundley, Clark County fire inspector for Laughlin, has already provided Jones with a list of children who need to receive toys this year.
"If families in the southern Nevada and northwest Arizona areas are in need of toys for their children this Christmas, they should call (928) 718-TOYS and register," Jones said. "The toys will be given out from various locations Dec. 19, 20 and 21."