U.S. Marines picked up 787 donations Friday from Eureka for the annual Tots For Tots drive. Spearheaded by Mary Wallach and Laurie Price of The Wallach House in Eureka, they said the quality of toys this year seemed especially good.
Price said six more boxes than last year were out around town, and that the cailber and variety of toys should be commended.
Sgt. Gavin Lewis of the U.S. Marines said they work with 250 organizations and church groups, as well as through the Demetrius Johnson Foundation, to identify recipients, but that the toys are meant to stay in St. Louis County and St. Louis. He said they also work through United Service Organizations (USO) volunteers to get the toys to children in need. USO is a private, nonprofit organization that provides morale and recreational services to members of the U.S. military. Lewis thought that some of the toys would be channeled through the Fort Leonard Wood USO chapter.
Last year's Toys For Tots drive in Eureka was a notifiable jump from prior years, netting 753 donations. (See published article: Toys For Tots Drive Secures Double Amount of Item)
"Look out next year — we're going to go for more," said Wallach.
Price said special thanks should go to Jefferson Bank & Trust and Comprehensive Chiropractic for the significant number of toys provided. She said the Greg Tainter Insurance staff collected a large number of donations, too. She also said the "super women" from Wool Gatherings help to carry all the donations from the second floor of their building down to the parking lot for pickup Friday.
For a complete list of entities that participated in the collection drive this year, click here.