GENESEE COUNTY – The Marine Toys for Tots program in Genesee County has a new coordinator to take the reins for its 2017 season: Vicky Muckenthaler, a passionate volunteer since 2009. She is confident the generosity of residents in the county will make for another successful campaign.
Sign-ups for families with children ages 15 will continue for two weeks until Dec. 9. The Toys for Tots office at 4425 S. Saginaw Street in Flint from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Families must bring proof of identification, income, both the child and parent/legal guardians’ Social Security cards and the child’s birth certificate with a piece of mail. Those on DHS, SSI or SSD must provide all pages of the forms associated with the program.
Muckenthaler said it is common misconception donations should stop after Dec. 21: monetary donations are accepted year-round and the coordinator said they can never exceed their need for gifts. There are 430 boxes locations around Genesee County, and a full list of drop-off locations and further info can be found at flint-mi. toysfortots.org.
The sorters, all of whom are volunteers, group the gifts by age and gender – Muckenthaler said occasionally she will go on “emergency runs” if there is a shortage in one age group to purchase more toys for wholesale prices. She said each child is guaranteed at least one toy through the program, but Genesee County is often able to provide as many as five due to a strong and charitable community.
“I want to thank the community for all the support in past years,” said Muckenthaler. “They’ve been wonderful.”
Toys for Tots, one of the most successful programs of its kind in the world, was started by a Marine in 1847 and still uses United States Army veterans as volunteer box delivery and pickup drivers. The movement quickly grew across the U.S., prompting Walt Disney to design the popular train logo in 1948.