Help wanted: Toys for Tots needs donated space for holiday program

Walter Alexander with Toys for Tots North Port has run out of room to package and deliver holiday gifts.

NORTH PORT — Santa may be coming to town in a couple of months.

But right now, he has no place to assemble gifts and distribute them to the kiddies.

His North Port representative is Walter Alexander with the Toys for Tots program in North Port. His volunteer group had space donated last season, but COVID-19 had changed that dynamic, he said.

Toys for Tots needs donated space for a small army to package and assemble bikes, store soccer balls and all the new toys and gifts collected in the annual push, he said. The group expects this season to surpass previous years, as the coronavirus is driving need. And it already has a storage unit filled with stuff collected or what arrived after last Christmas.

There is zero space to assemble things in that unit.

“A place to sort and box toys,” said Alexander, the 85-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Toys for Tots area coordinator for North Port, “that’s what we’re looking for.”

Toys for Tots is a program for kids run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. The Venice branch had collected new toys for North Port children. That ended a couple of years ago. All toys, donations and services gathered in North Port remain in town, Alexander stressed.

“North Port for North Port,” he said.

Many of the volunteers in leadership roles are former Marines, Alexander said. His group needs 3,000-5,000 square feet of donated space through the holidays. Toys are collected in boxes, but that practice has been limited by COVID-19, as well, he said.

“We really need some support … it’s an urgent thing.”

For details on Toys for Tots in North Port, call 941-726-9301 or 941-661-6050


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