DeKalb County Toys for Tots seeks donations

The organizer of DeKalb County Toys for Tots said the program is in “desperate need” of new, unwrapped toys, according to a news release.

“With many more out of work, there are many more families that need assistance in giving their children a merry Christmas,” said Kathi Hogshead Davis, Marine Corps Reserve organizer for Toys for Tots of DeKalb County.

The program supplies toys to nonprofit agencies throughout the county, helping provide toys for more than 1,500 children each year. Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Toys for Tots’ mission is to make Christmas merrier for the children in the county.

“In our generous county, this is the first year we are struggling to meet the need,” Davis said. “In the past, we have received from $5,000 to $12,000 from corporations in the county. But this year, those corporations had to close their doors or diminish their work to the point that we have only received $400. The money is used to purchase books and toys for the ages that are lacking items in the donation boxes.”

Toys for Tots strives to give each family a board game or large puzzle and each child at least two toys (one bigger/more expensive and one smaller), an age-appropriate book to promote literacy and several stocking stuffers, depending on donations.

“So this year we need the community to donate toys more than ever before,” Davis said.

There are about 100 donation boxes around the county to collect toys, including at the DeKalb Public Library, Aaron’s, Bill White’s Car Hospital, EcoWater, UPS Store, Lehan Drugs, Brad Manning Ford, Jewel-Osco (Sycamore and DeKalb), Family Health Center, Just the Details, Ralph’s Car Wash, HyVee, Office Max, Five Below, Walgreens (Sycamore and DeKalb), Brian Bemis (Toyota, Dodge, Ford and Honda), DeKalb GMC Chevy, Menards, Office Max, Kishwaukee YMCA and Dollar General (DeKalb and Cortland).

All boxes will be picked up Dec. 11 and 12 to give the group enough time to sort and deliver the toys to agencies before Christmas.

This year, Toys for Tots already has plenty of toys for children ages 3 to 8.

Organizers said they are in need of toys for children ages 0 to 2 and older than 9. In DeKalb County, the campaign gives toys to children from birth to age 18 (as long as they are in high school).

For newborns to 2-year-olds, donations are for books, teething toys and educational and musical toys. For children age 9 and older, items can include books, art and crafting supplies, science items, popular name-brand items such as “Frozen” and “Star Wars,” Fortnite, Minecraft, electronics, ear buds, headphones, Nerf items, nail polish, perfume, men’s cologne, shaving items, makeup, digital watches, jewelry, sports equipment, skateboards, car tools, screwdrivers, beginner tool sets and drones.

Not all older children end up going to college, and even if they do, they may live on their own and need tools.

“We are asking the generous community of DeKalb County to please step up and donate whatever you can to assist us in making this Christmas merrier for our children,” Davis said. “Toys are always welcome in the boxes around the county.”

To give, residents can drop off a toy at a box or contact Hogshead Davis at 779-777-5896 or dekalb.il@toysfortots.org to schedule a drop-off or pickup.

Monetary donations can be made online at dekalb-il.toysfortots.org. The money will be put into the DeKalb County account for local use to buy what is needed. Every donation, toy or money, given in DeKalb County stays in DeKalb County.