The Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots Hunt County campaign is just getting underway, as it seeks to provide toys and gifts for local children who may not otherwise have a Christmas this year.
The “Hot Boat, Car and Bike Cruise-In” at the Promenade Shopping Center in Greenville on Nov. 14 was the first event of the year and raised enough donations to begin filling up the organization’s warehouse.
“This is where everybody’s money goes,” said County Coordinator Teri Roundtree, as she walked among the boxes of toys already sorted by age and gender and the shelves of items which still to be designated to area children.
“Right now, we’ve got 1,002 kids to help,” Roundtree said Thursday morning, with the requests for assistance still pouring in. “We project we will hit at least 2,000.”
Another donation event is scheduled Saturday evening, as WhiskeyHat performs at 8 p.m. at the Empty Glass Steakhouse and Saloon, 2808 Lee St. in Greenville. Donations of new unwrapped toys are being sought. The night will include a fish fry and an appearance by Santa Claus.
“We’ll have a big Christmas tree up there, for people to drop off gifts,” Roundtree said.
This is Roundtree’s first year as the county’s official coordinator for the organization, although she previously helped out through Toys For Tots in Dallas County, which provided assistance to Hunt County and the surrounding area.
“Last year we helped 1,357 children and gave out 5,835 toys,” Roundtree said.
She spends her time taking and sorting donated items, delivering them to the agencies and individuals needing help, and using cash contributions to buy even more toys and gifts at clearance or closeout prices.
Roundtree said stores such as Walmart, Lowe’s and Home Depot have eagerly stepped up and sometimes contact her with bargains she had not yet heard about.
“They know we are here to help,” she said.
The warehouse includes toys for children of all ages, everything from dolls to sports equipment to educational games to books and stuffed animals.
“We try to give four toys to each child, along with a board game, stuffed animals and some stocking stuffers,” Roundtree said. “They are only required to live in Hunt County.”
Toys For Tots Hunt County is also assisting a handful of children in Delta County this year, but Roundtree has trouble finding gifts for teenagers and older kids.
“That’s one of the big things we need,” she said, adding that bikes have also been in short supply this year.
Another donation event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Texan Theater in downtown Greenville, featuring Trey Gilleland and the Downbeat Band.
Additional information about Toys For Tots Hunt County is available online at https://huntcountytx.toysfortots.org.