Toys for Tots collects at Capitol |

Toys for Tots collects at Capitol

Toys for Tots picked up a load of donated booty from the state Capitol Wednesday — the culmination of the annual drive organized by the Capitol Police to assist the Marine Corps Reserves with its annual effort.

Joyce Buckingham, representing Toys for Tots, said the goal is simply “making sure every child has something under the tree.”

She said there are an estimated 7,000 children in need in Carson City and Douglas, Storey and Lyon counties. All the toys as well as the clothing and cash collected through the drive, she said, will go to area children.

Toys for Tots accepts only toys, but Buckingham said the clothing will be distributed through the Foster Youth program.

In addition to a large pile of new toys and clothing, organizers turned over a $500 check from the Nevada State Law Enforcement Officers Association and an additional $125 from the Capitol Police officers themselves.

She said her organization owes a debt of gratitude to the Marine reservists at the Mountain Warfare Center in Bridgeport. She said Sgt. Nathan Gamboa and his fellow reservists have been coming to Carson in the evenings to help sort, package and ready the toys for distribution, working all day Saturdays and Sundays for her and helping with the toy drives at area Walmarts.

“They are the face of Toys for Tots,” she said. “Couldn’t do it without them.”

Officer Alice Valdez, who organized the drive this year for the Capitol Police, said most of the donations came from state employees but that citizens from outside also contributed.

Even though the economy is beginning to recover, Buckingham said, the need is “huge.” She said they collected about 30,000 toys from the Walmarts this past week, and “boom, they’re gone.”

“We’re just staying one step ahead of the wolf,” she said.

The Toys for Tots hotline will be available for families requesting toys for Christmas from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays through Monday. The phone number for the region’s Toys for Tots is 775-884-8697.