Carson City native to head Toys for Tots; drive starts Nov. 24 | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City native to head Toys for Tots; drive starts Nov. 24

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal
NEVADA APPEAL | NEVADA APPEAL

Valerie Perkins feels like most of the work she has done has been on a national level.

Wanting to connect with Carson City, taking over as area coordinator for the Toys for Tots program is just what Perkins said she needed.

“I saw the article in the Nevada Appeal, and I called about (the coordinator position),” Perkins said. “It attracted me, and it was something right to do. This is a fit for me.”

Perkins takes over for Paula Scott, who resigned in August just two months after taking the position. Scott sites “circumstances beyond her control” for vacating the position.

Perkins is the former owner of Gopher Products, a screen-printing company whose work was marketed nationwide.

Perkins calls the decision to volunteer impulsive, but said she is already enjoying the responsibility and working locally.

“I’m not overwhelmed – yet,” the retired 41-year-old said.

Perkins has been married eight years to Tom Henderson, owner of Healthy Trees.

Born and raised in Carson City and a 1983 Carson High School graduate, Perkins said what she likes most about the program is it is all local – in collection, the volunteers and distribution.

Toys for Tots served 2,159 children in 2005. The number of toys donated by the community was 6,631. It was the second-most successful campaign in the 58-year history of Toys for Tots.

Though she is still figuring out her priorities, Perkins said she knows she needs help from groups interested in helping sort the toys after they are collected. She said she welcomes church youth groups.

“It will be helpful to have them,” Perkins said. “Boy Scouts, church groups, those who want to spend two hours a night helping to sort toys.”

Those interested may call Perkins at her office, 882-9333. The Toys for Tots program officially kicks off Nov. 24, the day after Thanksgiving.

“I will have about a dozen drop-off locations in Carson City for the toys,” she said. “I am finalizing that list now.

“I also want everyone to know the toys that are collected here, stay in the immediate area.

“It would be great for the collection locations to hold fundraisers at the same time they collect toys. We need cash in addition to toys. Basically, 100 percent of cash donations go to purchase toys. The foundation sends media supplies and most office material.”

Perkins confirmed the Ron Wood Resource Center will accept calls beginning Nov. 24, the day the toy drive begins.

“I will soon release the list of drop-off locations,” Perkins added.

• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at rcosta-landers@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.