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Making sure every child gets a gift

Karl Horeis

f Dave Wyble and Monte Fast had their way, not a single Carson City child would go without a gift this season.

“Anyone who is not signed up for food or for toys should come to FISH,” said Fast, who runs the Toys for Tots registration point in the Friends In Service Helping offices on Long Street. People registered for food baskets there are automatically signed up for toys, he said.

Fast submitted his preliminary request to Toys for Tots program coordinator Dave Wyble on Thursday.

“There were about 600 families on the order – that’s about 1,500 toys,” said Fast.

Wyble and his corps of volunteers have that covered.

“We’ve got about 1,600 toys donated so far and we expect about 1,400 more,” he said.

Toys for Tots was started by a U.S. Marine Corps major in 1947. Wyble, who retired from the Corps in 1987, has been organizing the local Toys for Tots program for five years.

While other programs have a cutoff date, Toys for Tots does not. Wyble said they’ll keep signing families up until they stop coming in.

“If it’s just one toy per kid, we’ll do that if we have to, but there’s no cutoff. That’s not what Toys for Tots is about.”

“Santa Claus doesn’t have a cutoff,” said Fast.

He gave credit to Wyble and the local Toys for Tots volunteers.

“Wyble really goes at it in a big way. This is not a Mickey Mouse operation. They’re not going to close up two days before Christmas because they’re tired. They’re going to stay there until they feel the job is done. And that’s the way we do it here, too.”

In years past, Fast has sent workers home on Christmas Eve but stayed on himself to help families in need.

“They’re the ones that probably need that helping hand more than anyone else.”

He keeps some toys on hand at the charity’s offices just in case, and noted the Carson Nugget is offering a hot meal for free on Christmas.

“The kids and the need come first,” he said. “Even if they come in on the 26th and they didn’t have a good day then we’ll help them out.”

The Toys for Tots program is still accepting donations. The toys should be new and unwrapped. Toys are especially needed for boys and girls aged up to 2 and 12-15. Wyble said he’d rather have educational toys than stuffed animals.

“We’ve got too many stuffed animals already,” he said.

For the teens he recommends portable CD players, curling irons, hair dryers or $10 gift certificates at stores like Wal-Mart.

There are several drop off points for donations: The Nevada Appeal at 580 Mallory Way where all the toys are being stockpiled and will be distributed; The Nevada State Railroad Museum at 2180 South Carson Street where toys will be collected this weekend; Coldwell Banker Village Realty at 1987 North Carson Street, suite 75; Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse at 444 Fairview Drive; Custom Office Supply at 2814 North Carson Street; Q’s Steaks Bar-B-Que & Salads at 230 Fairview Drive and all Port of Subs locations.

Volunteers will pick up the donation barrels on Dec. 18, but donations will be accepted at the Appeal until the Dec. 21. FISH will send out cards to registered families saying, ‘Santa is waiting for you,’ with a time and date marked for their pickup. Distribution will be on the 19, 20 and 21.

Anyone looking for donations in Douglas County, which has its own Toys for Tots program, should call Don at 265-5951.

Contact Karl Horeis at khoreis@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.