Toys for Tots of Northeast Missouri has announced the total number of children helped during the Christmas season, and it said it wants to start its 2017 campaign earlier to ease the collection and distribution process.
The organization distributed new, unwrapped toys to 494 families; the toys were given to 1,150 children. The number of families helped in each county was as follows:
• Lewis County : 18 families.
• Marion County : 299 families.
• Monroe County : 24 families.
• Pike County : 112 families.
• Ralls County : 27 families.
• Shelby County : 14 families.
Toys for Tots Co-Coordinator Stacey Nicholas said the program’s success was based on community toy drives, donations from organizations and the support of local merchants. Almost $20,000 was raised for the campaign, with $6,000 coming from coin cans. Grants were provided by Tom Boland Ford, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart.
Nicholas also credits the volunteers who helped during the campaign and toy distribution.
“We couldn’t have helped so many children without the tireless support of volunteers throughout the year,” Nicholas said.
Although thousands of toys were donated, Toys for Tots spent about $10,000 to purchase additional toys to meet the need. The goal for 2017’s campaign is to focus donation efforts sooner.
“A bigger effort needs to be made to get donations throughout the year, as toy drives in December are often too late to be distributed that year,” Nicholas said.
Toys were distributed to families Dec. 14 in Hannibal. There were distributions in Lewis, Pike, Monroe and Shelby counties for those who lived too far away or couldn’t make it to the distribution.