GENESEE COUNTY — Thousands of children up to age 12 will have a merrier holiday season due to the work of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation and the county program coordinator, Vicky Muckenthaler and her many volunteers.
“Without volunteers, we would not be able to help the community,” she said.
There are both front end and back end volunteers. Several front office volunteers input and verify the data necessary for clients to receive the assistance, and the deadline for applications is Dec. 14. Other volunteers work in the toy warehouse sorting toys by age and child gender, counting, stocking and packing toys for clients.
“We never have enough volunteers in Genesee County sadly,” Muckenthaler said. “Getting volunteers is probably the hardest thing about my job. We need more volunteers in the back, especially full time. One or two days a week helps, but we pack a minimum of 125 bags per day in the warehouse. So, that requires a lot of volunteers.”
Muckenthaler said there is a need for toys for older kids.
“Everybody always wants to donate for the 1-5-year old children,” she said. “We service kids from birth to age 15. We always have to make store runs for the 13-15-year-old age group because we run out of toys for them.”
In addition to the volunteers, Muckenthaler said the people who donate to Toys for Tots are the heart of the operation.
“Toys For Tots is the number one children’s charity, and there’s a reason for that,” she said.
Muckenthaler is able to purchase toys from toy wholesale companies.
“For every $5 you spend on one toy, I can get three or four toys,” Muckenthaler said. “But toy donations and monetary donations are both good. Ninety-seven cents of every dollar we get has to be spent on a toy.”
Each child gets two small toys, two medium-sized toys and one large toy, a book, a plush animal, stocking stuffers and a game. Sign up at: flint-mi.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default. aspx?nPageID=100&nPreviewInd=200
Toys for Tots started in California in 1947 when a Marine’s wife starting giving handmade dolls to children on base. For more information, call 810- 715-4401. — P.S.