Toys for Tots enters the homestretch |

Toys for Tots enters the homestretch

Steve Ranson
LVN Editor Emeritus

The local Toys for Tots program is entering the home stretch as volunteers, members of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and Marine retirees gather gifts for the area’s children.

Although the collection has been good so far this season, organizers say new, unwrapped toys are still needed and can be dropped off at one of their 30 toy boxes displayed at local businesses and the Navy Exchange at Naval Air Station Fallon. Toys also can be dropped off at the Marines’ seasonal headquarters at 2030 Williams Ave., across the street from Nevada State Bank.

Orville “Junior” Wempner said the need for distributing toys has increased over the years. While the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves have been collecting toys for both the Reno-Sparks and Carson City area, Wempner said local Marines have been gathering toys for distribution and wrapping them not only Fallon but also Fernley, Lovelock and parts of Silver Springs.

“We’re going to be busy for the next three weeks,” said Wempner, a retired Marine. “It’s going great this year.”

He said the success of the annual Toys for Tots program is due to the community’s support and the desire for children to have a good Christmas.

Wempner said a major contributor of the Toys for Tots program is the Iron Order Motorcycle Club. Their ninth annual I.O. The Kids Fallon Toy Run is Sunday beginning and ending at the American Legion hall on 90 N. Ada St. The cost of entry is one new unwrapped toy per bike or vehicle. Registration starts at 9 a.m., and the run begins at 10 a.m. The motorcycle club will present toy donations to the Toys for Tots program and cash donations to the Fallon Youth Cub. For information on the run, call 775-217-6819 or 775-666-5022.

Wempner said the Fallon Toys for Tots has also received more bicycles, which are lined up in two rows inside their building.

The Toys for Tots volunteers and their trucks will be collecting toys at Walmart numerous times between now and days before Christmas. He said a toy drive is slated for Friday and Sunday and afterward on Dec. 13, 15, 16 and 21. On Saturday, the Toys for Tots truck will be at the 10th annual Fallon Lights of Christmas at the Heritage Arena, 1001 Sheckler Cutoff. The family festive and tree auction is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Proceeds go toward Toys for Tots.

Wempner said families who have submitted requests will be notified for the toys distribution. Volunteers from the community, NAS Fallon and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve will hand out bags of toys over several days.

According to the mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, the Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. The Fallon Toys for Tots program has been promoting its toy drive since the summer with booths set up at various events.

Volunteers are needed for shopping, gift wrapping, stocking stuffing, setup and festivities. For information contact Wempner at 775-666-5211.