PARKERSBURG-With Christmas Day approaching, more toys will be made available to needy children of the area.
Bud Williams, vice commandant of the Marine Corps League Parkersburg Detachment 1087, said 35 volunteers gathered at the West Virginia Army National Guard Armory on Blizzard Drive Thursday to get the toys bagged up and ready for distribution.
The exact number of toys the group will distribute is not known, Williams said.
Photos by Jeffrey Saulton
Marine Corps League volunteers, from left, Wendy Gilbert, Candace Seebaugh and Carol McNulty get toys ready for placement in bags for today’s distribution.
Volunteer Amber Spencer selects toys for a bag she is filling.
"We don't count them," he said. "If we need more we have a trailer out back we haven't gotten to yet."
Williams said the organization coordinates with others to make sure no one is trying to collect from more than one agency.
"We keep track and compare names on the lists to make sure we don't have any 'double dippers,'" he said. "We've had to remove a few and we've had to add others."
The distribution will begin today at 6 p.m. at the armory. Williams said he is not sure how long the organization has been involved in the distribution, but records on the distribution stretch back to 2004.
"The families will come in every 15 minutes so they won't have to wait out in the weather," he said. "We had them standing in the snow last year and we expect rain this year," he said. "The families will be called and told what time to be here."
Each family will be assigned numbers and the volunteers will go back and pick up the appropriate bags. The system is designed to get the families in and out in a hurry.
Children do not make out requests for the toys they receive, Williams said.
"We are doing this for 68 families and 150 to 160 children," he said. "Each bag will be sorted by age and sex and will be filled with about 15 toys."
Mike McLain, commandant of the Marine Corps League Parkersburg Detachment 1087, said the toys and money collected stay in Wood and Washington counties.
"We had a lady ask us if we could guarantee the toys she donated would go to someone in Belpre and we told her we couldn't do that," he said. "We take care of our own in Wood and Washington counties; that's all we can guarantee."
McLain said the distribution is open to families with children aged from infants to 14 years. Each bag is marked with a number and the age and gender of a child; no names are assigned.
Volunteers fill each bag with a variety of items.
Any leftover toys will be given to other agencies if they need anything to fill out their orders, Williams said.
The stuffed animals will be given to children's hospitals in the region and others will be given to the State Police and sheriff's department to be given to help calm children in crime or accident scenes, Williams said.