The Brightside: Toys for Tots

WICOMICO CO., Md. – Every year, kids across the country wake up on Christmas morning to presents under their Christmas tree. Sadly, not every child has this luxury. That’s where a charity called Toys for Tots comes in.

Jeff Merritt, a volunteer for Toys for Tots said, “Unfortunately there are kids who don’t get toys for Christmas and its very sad and we just want to at least make an attempt to fill that gap.”

Each year, in early October, Toys for Tots puts out donation boxes across Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester Counties.

Merritt said, “We’ve got about 140 donation sites all over this area.”

Here’s how it works: people can come up to the donation boxes and place toys in them up until about mid-December. From there, the toys will be picked up by volunteers and delivered to charities across the region that have requested them.

Andy Bouma, a Coordinator for Toys for Tots said, “The charities in turn give them to the families of the kids that need them.”

The effort can be described as a labor of love.

Merritt said, “Its nice being able to lift somebody up like that at least for Christmas time help them out and see their smiles.”

Jeff Merritt says he has been able to witness parents receiving the toys first hand and he says the look on their face is enough reward for him.

Merritt said, “It feels good because you can see the result of your effort of helping somebody that might not be as fortunate as we are.”

We’re told each year, Toys for Tots usually manages to collect about 10,000 toys.

Merritt said, “Over 5000 kids get toys.”

A lot of the times, our local Toys for Tots program will receive letters from grateful parents.

Bouma said, “You get letters you get feedback. People are very appreciative when somebody steps in to help.”

So the next time you see a Toys for Tots box, know that any toys you see inside of it will be winding up under local children’s Christmas tree.

Merritt said, “Hopefully it lifts them up a good bit.”

Toys for Tots is always looking for more volunteers. If you would like to be a volunteer you can visit and click on your state to learn more.

Categories: Brightside, Local News, Maryland