I can hardly believe that it is February already and we are still behind the scenes finishing up some of the final work to close out the 2019 Toys for Tots season.
It is even more difficult for me to believe that 2019 was my 14th year running the Marine Reserve Toys for Tots program in Shiawassee County.
As I reflect back on the years here, I can state that we have helped thousands of families and tens of thousands of children.
However, I would be rather remiss if I didn’t also state that none of this would have been possible without the unbelievable generosity of the individuals, businesses and organizations in this county.
Though it would be virtually impossible to mention every business, organization and individual that have played a role over the years, paramount among them would be the Marine Corps League, Harold R. Cooley Detachment for their unwavering dedication to the program.
More recently, Harry Wilson and the Masons from the Masonic Lodges 80 and 81 have been a great augmentation to the Marines delivering the boxes and collecting the toys at the almost 150 drop-off locations throughout the county. Lance Gilmore, my assistant coordinator, toy coordinator Tanya Zemla, liaison Bill Domby, Christial Sierra and her volunteers from Angel’s Hands Outreach, Lee Ann from Joe-Lee’s Crosswinds Cafe, Mark Dawson and SFC Hammond of the Michigan National Guard 144th Military Police Company, Phil, Bob and Eric at our toy warehouse and Bob Hemenway, our Toys for Tots accountant, have all been instrumental to the success of our program.
To be clear, everyone from myself to the newest elves donate their time, talent and treasure to bring the joy of Christmas to needy children throughout the entire county.
To every volunteer in every capacity, to every individual and organization that purchased a toy and took the time to drop it into a toy box or drop a dollar or loose change into one of our canisters… you have made a difference in the life of a child as well.
You have, by your own kindness, helped to create the next generation of pay-it-forward individuals.
I want to thank everyone who has played a role, in any capacity, in making 2019 a wonderful, blessed and successful Christmas season. Remember, the toy to a needy child represents hope.
Since 1947 the Marine Reserve Toys for Tots program has been rated one of the top children’s charities in the world, helping over seven million children annually.
So from myself and all of my staff and volunteer elves, on behalf of all of the families and children, thank you, Shiawassee County.
Gerald Alcorn, Shiawassee County coordinator, Toys for Tots, Marine Corps Reserve