Facing the 2020 pandemic, Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Shiawassee County Coordinator Gerry Alcorn is asking the community to assist in the giving effort. “Everyone has these gifts, but whatever the gifts are, be it time, talent or treasure, look around the world and there are always people substantially worse off than you,” Alcorn shared, encouraging people to step up to help the 2020 Toys for Tots campaign. “With Toys for Tots, that toy as a gift becomes a sign of hope,” he explained. “Someday that person is going to remember someone in my life did something for me. It’s a faith strategy. It’s about hope.”

   Alcorn has been the county coordinator for 15 years and has worked with the Toys for Tots organization since 1983. He is asking everyone who is able to help out, even in some small way. “If everyone makes a conscious effort to bring a little time, talent or treasure, the world will be a better place. We are always about this entire county.”

   Volunteers for Toys for Tots are not compensated. The Harold R. Cooley Detachment 841, and now Owosso Masonic Lodge 81 members, along with volunteers from all over the county – are instrumental in this annual effort. Alcorn is quick to offer his gratitude for his volunteers. “I really want to thank all of these people over the last 15 years. There is no way for me to personally thank every single person and every individual organization that has in some way helped make this work, but I still offer my utmost, heartfelt thanks.”

   “We anticipate, that with COVID, that the need will be substantially higher this year,” Alcorn said. “I always say to anyone, during these difficult times, there are a lot of very good organizations and some that are not, so before you decide to donate, do your due diligence before becoming involved. It’s always wise.”

   People interested in Toys for Tots Shiawassee County can find out further information on the Facebook page or by calling (989) 720-8487. The email address is Shiawassee.mi@toysfortots.org. Toys for Tots is a well known charity organization with the goal to provide toys – hope – to children at Christmas. Lance Gilmore is the assistant coordinator and is available to help answer questions, as well.

   What’s needed? Alcorn stated it best – time, talent and treasure. Volunteers are always appreciated, even if for just a few hours here and there. Due to the pandemic, monetary donations are also more significant than ever. If mailing in a check, please make it out to Toys for Tots and add Shiawassee County to the memo line to avoid any concerns of scam. The money will go directly in support of the county program.

   Of course, toys are needed, too, but note that all donated toys must enter into a 5-day quarantine period prior to distribution. This quarantine process has forced Toys for Tots to quickly develop an alternate operating system this year, mindful of keeping everyone safe.

   “We follow all protocols,” shared Alcorn. “We don’t want to increase any risk factors.”

   Toys for Tots Shiawassee County is also interested in working with other interested area nonprofit groups. “We look for other organizations that can do other things than we can do to help people who might need food or coats,” Alcorn said. “We want to connect those resources.”

   The group is again using the Shiawassee Readiness Center/National Guard Facility at 675 W. Corunna Ave., Corunna. “It’s a beautiful building for us,” said Alcorn. “It’s 100 percent handicap accessible and great for our delivery guys.” Sign-up dates have regularly been available on social media.

Rallying for Toys for Tots in Shiawassee County was last modified: December 9th, 2020 by Karen Elford