Toys for Tots Getting Started Again in NE Ga.

With the holiday season inching closer, the Toys for Tots program is again gearing up in northeast Georgia.

“Toys for Tots” is a program of the Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve that collects and distributes toys to children and families in need each holiday season.

Don Alexander is the Toys for Tots Coordinator for Stephens, Franklin, and Hart counties.

He said there is a change this year that applies to those in Stephens County who may need assistance from the “Toys for Tots” program.

“Last year in Stephens County, the Salvation Army did the screening and gave the toys out,” said Alexander. “This year, Stephens County people, all they have to do is go to the Salvation Army and they will give them a date to pick up the toys at our warehouse. It will be two Saturdays from the date they go in so there is not a big rush at the end of the year.”

Alexander said people will have to show proof of residency and may have to show proof of guardianship or custody.

There is also a new phone number to find out information on the “Toys for Tots” program in Stephens and Franklin counties.

That number is 864-614-2853.

Alexander said they are not seeing the same number of requests for assistance as they have in years’ past.

“I do not know if the 864 number is making people nervous and they think they might have to go to South Carolina for the toys,” said Alexander. “That is not the case.”

Meanwhile, the number for assistance in Hart County is 706-436-1686.

According to Alexander, the numbers are also written on the numerous “Toys for Tots” drop-off boxes that will be placed throughout the region for people to donate new, unwrapped toys.

Alexander said they are still looking for donations of toys for children of all ages.

He did say there is one age group in particular that they need donations for.

“We are really hurting for toys for girls age 12 to 15,” said Alexander.

The “Toys for Tots” program will also be out throughout the coming weeks collecting toys and monetary donations.

Again, the number for more information on “Toys for Tots” in Stephens and Franklin counties is 864-614-2853 and in Hart County, it is 706-436-1686.

Nationwide, the “Toys for Tots” program has distributed more than 469 million toys over the program’s lifetime to more than 216 million less fortunate children.