This year in St. Lucie County, thousands of children will wake up Christmas morning unsure what, if anything, had been left for them under the tree. The Marine Toys for Tots program is working to make sure every child who needs a toy will get one – and businesses around the county are stepping up to help.
“We need to do it,” said The UPS Store manager Monica Chambers, who runs the store in the St. Lucie West location, 1391 NW St. Lucie West Blvd. She said the UPS franchise owner has had all the stores in the area participate every year. “It makes me feel so good” to know the store is helping those in need, Chambers said.
Already, the store’s box is filling up with toys, and it’s only been out a short time. Last year the store’s customers filled three or four big boxes.
“The same people come in each year,” Chambers said of some of the donors.
It’s businesses such as the St. Lucie West The UPS Store that keep the local Marine Toys for Tots program going year after year.
Last year, the organization provided toys to 6,800 children in St. Lucie County, according to the local Toys for Tots website, fort-pierce-fl.toysfortots.org. More than 50 volunteers managed the collection, sorting and distribution.
While the website notes that toys are needed for those infant to 15 years old, Assistant Coordinator Alexandria Dodson said gadgets and gear for those 15 to 17 would also be appreciated, which “we rarely get anymore.”
While it’s easy to pick out a stuffed animal, ball or doll for younger children, donors hesitate to donate items for older children – being unsure if they would like whatever the item is.
Dodson suggested donations of books, board games, and makeup for the teen-set.
“We do this to help the community,” Dodson said of participating in Toys for Tots. “There’s no point being in the community if you can’t be a part of it.”
Anyone interested in donating can find a partial list of drop-off sites on the Toys for Tots website. The website lists about a dozen locations – the largest, according to Dodson. However, there are 70 businesses and organizations around the county that have collection boxes.
Participating sites have a small sign out front calling for donations. Donations will be collected through Dec. 15.
For more information about the St. Lucie County Marines Toys for Tots program, visit the website, fort-pierce-fl.toysfortots.org, or call 866-838-7521.
To register to receive toys this year, go to the website and click Request a Toy and follow the instructions posted there.
St. Lucie West and Tradition Drop-off locations (as listed on the website):
- The UPS Store #3932: 1391 NW St. Lucie West Blvd.; 772-340-0043
- AC Moore: 1725 NW St. Lucie West Blvd.; 772-206-3371
- Fusion Aveda Salon and Spa: 266 NW Peacock Blvd.; 772-464-0772
- Payment Alliance International: 10521 SW Village Center Dr., Suite 202; 941-321-8277.