Pratt shoppers got very generous with donations for Toys for Tots at Walmart with more than double the donations from last year.
There was a lot of fire truck activity at Walmart on Nov. 24 but it had nothing to do with a fire although there were plenty of hot items coming to the fire trucks.
Toys for Tots and the Pratt Fire Department joined forces Friday for “Stuff the Truck” to collect hundreds of toys for area children that might not get a Christmas present this year.
Firefighters brought three trucks to the Walmart parking lot and distributed flyers to customers showing what items were needed and shoppers responded in a big way.
Hundreds of toys were purchased then donated to Toys for Tots. The firefighters accepted the toys and packed them into the fire trucks to transport them to the National Guard Armory for safe keeping until the toys are distributed in December.
Besides toy donations, there were cash donations of over $1,470 that will go to the purchase of more toys. There were also donations of wrapping paper and tape so the Christmas presents can be wrapped, said event organizer Jason Leslie.
Toys for children ages 0-18 were donated and will be distributed on Dec. 15-16 at the National Guard Armory. Registration for toys is required and can be done at www.prattks.toysfortots.org. Deadline for registration is Thursday, Dec. 13. Toys are donated only to families that live in Pratt County. On pickup day, parents or guardians will need to provide some form of I.D., a proof of residence and proof the family is receiving some form of assistance. More information is available at 620-672-2257.
This is the second year Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots has been active in Pratt and this year has started with a bang. This year's Black Friday toy collection more than doubled the donations from last year and the cash donations were triple from last year as well, said volunteer Kristi Leslie.
The Pratt firefighters volunteer their time and equipment to help make this drive, the biggest of the year for Toys for Tots, a success. They distribute flyers, collect donations then unload the toys at the National Guard Armory.
Black Friday is chosen for the drive because it is the biggest shopping day of the year.
Donations are still being accepted until Dec. 13. There are Toys for Tots donation boxes located at many businesses around Pratt. Donations must be new toys only, unwrapped and for ages 0-18. The program cannot accept used toys, Leslie said.
The first year for Toys for Tots was very successful. There were some toys left over that provided a base for the program to work off of this year. With the huge response from donors this year, it will help assure that every child can get a Christmas present this year.
Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots is the largest non-profit organization in the U.S. Military.