Toys for Tots, a United States Marine Corps nonprofit charity that collects new unwrapped toys for children less fortunate, has an annual mission to spread gifts and joy during the holiday season.
And McLean County is no exception.
County representative Christy Patton began serving the county for the first time last year, which has proven difficult given the coronavirus pandemic.
“Last year was tough,” Patton said. “People didn’t have jobs, we had tons of applications -… it was really hard to get help last year with toys and stuff like that. “
However, Patton admits that Drive 2021 went better.
“This year I’ve been fundraising to make sure we have enough to be able to help these families,” Patton said.
One of the fundraisers included Red & White Toy Run, hosted by the Nomads Charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, which turned out to be a great experience.
“They’re awesome,” Patton said. “No question asked, they go out and take care of everything. You don’t even have to worry. And people from all over come for this event.
Another event that Patton helped coordinate was the ‘Shoots and Ladders’ event in Sacramento, a friendly competition between the McLean County Sheriff’s Office and the County Volunteer Firefighters inviting participants to fill up a fire truck or truck. police car with toys or gifts.
Patton said the fundraiser went well for the first time and ultimately made the community more familiar with the program.
“I want the community to get back into this program,” Patton said. “When I took over last year, there was no community involvement and I want the community involvement to come back. I want them to understand what this program is and what it does.
“It’s their community, it’s their children. It takes a village to raise children, that’s what we’ve always been taught. Also, a community needs to come together when it needs to and I think it’s very important to involve the community again.
Patton has also worked with other members of the community, companies such as Grease Monkey Auto LLC in Calhoun on a bike ride, and Calhoun Baptist Church and Beech Grove Christian Church helping Patton, finding help if needed. .
“(The community members) have been amazing,” Patton said. “… I just want to thank everyone who fundraised and helped. The turnout has been incredible this year.
Patton’s main mission, along with the charity, is to make sure every kid in the county has a great Christmas.
Patton’s husband was in the military for 15 years and it has always been something she has been a part of.
“I love children and I think no child should go without anything under any circumstance,” Patton said. “They can’t help where they’re from or their background or anything. If you can just let a kid know they are thinking of them, it will be worth it to me.
While this has been a more successful year, Patton’s main goal is simple.
“I hope we don’t have to turn anyone away this year,” Patton said. “We shut down our application process on December 3, but we still have applications, believe it or not.”
Patton reports that there are more than 200 children in need this year, up from 89 last year.
“I guess the word got out (this year),” Patton said. “I had several applications this year.
Patton is looking to get “anything and everything” for the kids this year.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s $ 1, $ 5, $ 10 – it doesn’t matter,” Patton said. “You talk about children who probably have nothing. “
Patton said articles are still accepted and is looking for more people interested in volunteering.
For more information or interested in volunteering visit facebook.com/McLean-County-KY-Toys-For-Tots-113368801126833 or contact Patton at 270-499-1543.
Freddie Bourne, [email protected]