Toys for Tots reached 2,000 children
KINGMAN - While its operations fell below that of prior years, the 2009 Toys for Tots drive was still able to give several hundred area families the gift of a merry Christmas.
Over the past two months, more than 2,000 children in Kingman, Golden Valley, Dolan Springs and Chloride received toys from the charity program administered by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. That's down from about 3,300 in 2008, according to the program's local administrator, Norman Burns, but Burns noted that, due to staffing shortages, the most recent drive did not deliver to Bullhead City as it had before. He added, however, that families could still pick up toys in Kingman even if they were out of the main coverage area.
"We even had one family that registered from Needles, California," Burns said. "In all, we signed up 740 parents to receive toys, and we issued toys to 2,207 children."
In addition to hundreds of toys, Burns said he received nearly $2,000 in local cash donations for the program, which he in turn used to purchase toys, especially those for the older age groups. Most toy donations went to younger children, though the program covers those up to 15 years of age.
Burns also received $3,500 from the Toys R Us company, which he used to purchase toys in Henderson, Nev.
"We had to do that at four in the morning, so we wouldn't interfere with their local business," he said.
The program was aided this year by Martin and Cody Swanty of Swanty Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep. While the Swantys have kept Toys for Tots dropoff bins in their dealerships for years, 2009 marked the first year that the family donated the use of a showroom at 2610 Andy Devine Ave. to serve as the charity's main distribution headquarters. The Swantys also donated a number of bikes to the program's latest effort.