Donations to the Toys for Tots campaign must cover a vast area for families in need. Dave Wyble, area coordinator for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program, said the toys will be provided to more than 600 families.
"We'll be distributing toys to about 1,800 to 2,000 kids," Wyble said.
Donations are a little slow in coming in so far. Age groups most in need are newborn to toddler and youth ages 11-15.
But the project got a big boost Tuesday from Scholastic Inc., a publisher and distributor of children's books and other materials, with delivery of more than 22,000 books. The books will be distributed to families who receive toy donations.
"When they called and asked me if we wanted them, I said 'Yes, of course,'" Wyble said with a smile as he watched 11 pallets of books off-loaded from a tractor-trailer.
Among books donated are "Friends Forever" from the Baby-sitters Club; "Mrs. Coverlet's Magicians" by Mary Nash; "Bob's Valentine Suprise" from Bob the Builder; "Teddy Bears Trick-or-Treat" by Sam Williams, and the "2003 Book of Guinness World Records."
Wyble said he will contact the Carson City School District to discuss donating surplus books to area schools, among other options.
For the older children, "CD players, CDs and DVD players are real popular things with the kids now," Wyble added.
Developmental toys for the little ones are best. Building blocks, toys which teach a child shapes, colors and textures are good choices.
"For the older boys, I would say skateboards and snowboards."
Les Laberee, a three-year volunteer, acknowledged the group ran short of toys for the newborn to 2-year-old age group last year.
"Anything for the real small kids will help," Laberee said. "Every year we've seen an increase in the number of donations, and every year the need (for toys) increases. Hopefully this year will be even better."
Those in need of toys for their family are asked to call 882-3474, which is the Friends In Service Helping office, on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. The charity will correlate the names with other area agencies to avoid duplication of requests, then mail a card to the family with time and date to pick up their toys. Distribution of toys for Carson City residents will be at the Nevada Appeal, 580 Mallory Way, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 19-21.
"Other counties will make arrangements for distribution over the phone when the family calls," Laberee said.
"FISH has been so good to us by coordinating the families. It saves us a lot of hassle."
"We also get help from Nevada Hispanic Services," Wyble added. "They act as interpreters for the Hispanic community, tell FISH what they need so FISH can tell us what the family needs. It works out real well."
The Silver State Detachment of the Marine Corps League also assists with the toy drive.
The last day to drop off toys at any location is Dec. 18. People unsure as to toy selection can get gift cards, which are available in any dollar amount from Lowe's, Best Buy, Car Quest and the Grocery Outlet. The gifts cards will then be used to purchase needed toys.
"KPTL 1300AM radio in Carson City will also have giveaways throughout our collection dates, including a live-remote broadcast from noon-1 p.m. Dec. 9 at Lowe's," Wyble said. "They've been real helpful, too.
"Toys dropped off at any of the Topsy Lane businesses - Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Home Depot - will be distributed to Douglas, Carson and Lyon counties."
Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at 881-1223 or email@example.com