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Yuma Marines make sure every tot gets a toy
• (Every day) Toys for Tots Breakfast, from 7 to 11 a.m., AmVets 2, 8889 E. South Frontage Road, corner of 9E and South Frontage Road.
• Thursday, Dec. 12 — Desert Escapees, 11 a.m. luncheon at the Foothills Eatery and Spirits, I-8 and Foothills Blvd. U.S. Marines will be present in dress blues to accept the new toys.
• Saturday, Dec. 15 — Family Christmas Program, 10 a.m. Somerton Library, 240 Canal St. Family crafts and activities; children accompanied by their families will receive a gift from Santa (while supplies last).
• Sunday, Dec. 16 — Yuma Pro Am Series, Toys for Tots bass tournament launching out of Fisher's Landing. Call Bob La Londe at 580-1270 or visit email@example.com for sign-up information.
Every child should have a smile on their face and be able to open a gift on Christmas morning.
Gunnery Sgt. Merwin McIntyre Jr. and many other volunteers have been working hard the past several months to make sure that Christmas magic happens.
McIntyre said that so far, about 12,000 Yuma-area children have been registered to receive toys through the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots Program, and more toys are still needed to fill those requests.
“Every kid should have a toy,” said McIntyre, the Yuma coordinator of the 2012 Marines Toys for Tots program. “We don't have a choice. We have to make (the goal).”
Since the Toys for Tots Program began back in 1947, it has distributed more than 452 million toys to more than 2.9 million less-fortunate children.
Although they began collection toys on Dec. 2, McIntyre said the drive actually began back in October and will continue through Christmas. He added that while it may often seem overwhelming at times, especially since they still receiving requests for toys, he's confident that every child on the list will get a gift.
“Once we fill the order, we call the family or nonprofit organization to come and pick up their toys. We serve both civilian and military families.”
He said that so far, they have collected about 3,000 toys and have received about $10,000 in monetary donations to purchase toys. Those wishing to donate can drop off a new unwrapped gift at one of the many collection bins (see list below) throughout the community. Any size donation is accepted, but toys for both boys and girls, of every age from toddler to teenager, are still needed. All of the toys collected are given to children in Yuma County.
For him, the program is personal, McIntyre said, because he knows firsthand what it is like to be a child from a family that struggles to afford gifts for the holidays.
“Because of my background, where I was raised, and how I grew up, my family sometimes needed the help of different organizations. So this is something I wanted to do. This is my first year as the coordinator, and I'm pretty excited about it.”
As with every year, McIntyre said, the community's involvement has been tremendous, something he is extremely appreciative of. Many residents, businesses, RV parks and groups take time out of their busy schedules to host toy drives or make monetary donations.
“I minimally had to reach out to ask for participation. This year I was bombarded with requests wanting to take part.”
McIntyre specifically spoke about two events that showed the support the program gets each year from the community. One was held at the Yuma Palms mall, where numerous drop boxes were up at the roundabout in front of the theater.
“In just over 12 hours all the boxes were full and there was no place to put the toys.”
At another recent event, the Friendly Tavern, which is also one of the 60 drop-off sites around the county, held a silent auction and raised $1,400.
To make a monetary donation, register to receive a toy, or see a list of drop-off locations online, go to ToysForTots.org. Donors can also contact McIntyre at 1-724-302-6807.
Christ Lutheran Church, 2555 S. Engler Ave.
Desert View Academy, 2363 S. Kennedy Lane
Palmcroft Elementary School, 901 Palmcroft Drive.
Valley Horizon Elementary School, 4501 W. 20th St.
Ron Watson Middle School, 9851 E. 28th St.
Branch Health Clinic Yuma, building 1175
The Friendly Tavern, 1949 S. Arizona Ave.
Gila Ridge High School, 7150 E. 24th St.
Marine Air Control Squadron 1, Cannon Air Defense Complex bldg. 3219
AA Val U Storage, 3090 S. Avenue 3E
Westwind RV and Golf Course, 9797 E. 32nd St.
Sunrise Elementary School, 9943 E. 28th St.
Rancho Viejo Elementary School, 1020 Avenue C
Woodard Junior High School, 2250 S. 8th Ave.
Pueblo Elementary School, 2803 W. 20th St.
Cactus Storage, 10264 North Frontage Rd.
Gila Ridge Storage, 2671 E. Gila Ridge Rd.
Disabled American Veterans, 954 S. 13th Ave.
American Self Storage, 1775 E. Palo Verde St.
Castle Dome Self Storage, 1181 Castledome Ave.
Virginia Manor Apartments, 2621 S. Virginia Dr.
Navy federal Credit Union, 1683 S. Arizona Ave.
Araby Acres RV Resort, 6649 E. 32nd St.
Valley Horizon PTO, 4501 W. 20th St.
Sunridge RV Park, 10347 E. 34th St.
Desert Mesa Elementary School, 2350 Avenue 7-1/2E
Planet Fitness, 1232 S. Castle Dome Ave.
Yuma Dentistry For Kids, 2816 S. 4th Ave. Suite C
King Cobra Company, 11760 E. 27th Place.
Yuma Catholic High School, 2100 W. 28th St.
Walmart, 2900 S. Pacific Ave.
Walmart, 2501 S. Avenue B.
Walgreens, 2801 S. 4th Ave.
Walgreens 8th Street
Walgreens, 2491 W. 24th St.
Yuma Investment Group, 182 E. 16 St., Suite D
Western Sands RV 10459 S. Frontage Rd.
Farmers Insurance Group, 2589 E. 24th St., Suite 1
Southgate Mall, 3140 S. 4th Ave.
Yuma Young Marines, 2635 S. 3rd Ave
Starbucks Coffee, 1630 S. Pacific Ave.
VMA-214 USMC, 2505-C Wheat Loop
Arizona Western College, 2020 S. Avenue 8E
Martinez Lake, E. County 4th St.
Fishers's Landing Trailer Park, 10501 Fisher's Landing Rd.
AMEC Inc., S. Ave 12E and E. 40th St.
MCAS Yuma Front Gate Bldg.
Castle Dome Middle School Student Council, 2353 S. Otondo Dr.
Destiny Christian Church, 3185 E. 42nd St.
Heuser Chiropractic, 144 W. 32nd St.
Yuma Marine Recruiting Office, 16th St. and Pacific
Big O Tire, All Locations
Ed Whitehead Tires
Rural/Metro Fire Stations 1,2,5,10