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TOYS FOR TOTS! Annual Delano Toy Donation Drive Begins

The annual Toys for Tots donation drive is back, first meeting of the season was held at the Chamber of Commerce to discuss ways on how to better support one another and bring in more donations.
Posted at 7:39 PM, Nov 09, 2023
  • Video shows community leaders and members gathering at the Chamber of Commerce to discuss ways on how to support each other during the donation drive and trying to get more businesses involved.

As the holidays start to approach, you might see cardboard boxes around the city. It’s part of the annual Toys for Fots event — distributing toys to kids who need it most. Organizers say on average, they distribute around 2,800 toys annually. So, while you do your Christmas shopping this year, remember to buy something extra or donate something old for a kid in need.

“There’s a need that not every child is blessed enough to have a toy or even a memory of a good Christmas and thats our goal is to provide information about marines while also promoting other values of giving back,” said Adriana Salinas, coordinator for Toys for Tots.

Salinas says they’ve been working with the marine corpse for years — teaming up at each location and showing up at the distribution sites to spread more holiday cheer for the kids.

Over the years, Salinas says Toys for Tots has grown their connections with different organizations in the area to accommodate the rise in demand for Christmas gifts.

“At one time we were solely dependent on the marines,” said Salinas. “Now with the support of Delano and the other agencies we’ve been able to be a little more self reliant.”

Salinas says since this change, they’ve also been able to collaborate with local schools to better identify which kids they should be giving to.

Linda Hinojosa with the Delano Unified School District says they’ve been in partnership with Toys for Tots for close to 30 years. Using teachers opinions to find kids — Hinojosa says they started with gifting to 10-15 kids per school and are now up to 50 kids per school.

“That’s always fun, kids love bikes they love skateboards anything gross motor and as a school nurse I think thats something that I really promote because we really wants kids to be outside to play outdoors you know and it’s healthy to get vitamin D and you know just be a kid,” said Hinojosa.

Hinojosa says aside from motor gifts, things like books and board games are also ideal donations.

But Toys for Tots isn’t the only way to give back to the community. The City of Delano is holding their second annual toy donation drive — gifting around 500 toys to local youth, coordinator Vice Mayor Salvador Solorio-Ruiz says they are opening up more drop off locations to service more youth.

“It is important to give back it’s not always about you it’s about all of us and to make sure that we provide sometimes you know a pick me up to our families here in Delano with inflation on the rise a Christmas gift can be a small impact and a small gesture,” said Ruiz.

Ruiz says unlike Toys for Tots which focuses mainly on younger children, the city’s donation drive is aimed to target all youth — adding all youth appropriate gifts are welcome at any of their drop off locations.

“No child is gonna be left behind in Delano in terms of providing a toy,” said Ruiz.

Toys for Tots collections have already commenced and will be in effect until December 13 where distributions will take place on December 15th at Memorial Park. For more information you can call Adriana Salinas at (661) 203-3377.

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