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Toys for Tots still offering Christmas help

Karl Horeis

There are only three days left for the Toys for Tots program. Folks who need a little help providing gifts for their little ones can pick up toys as late as Wednesday -but they have to sign up first through FISH.

The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program has distributed more than 298 million toys to 144 million children since it started in 1947.

The local coordinator is Dave Wyble Sr.

“He and his wife are kind of like Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus,” says former Marine and Toys for Tots volunteer David Piel. “Every year, they lose their garage to Toys for Tots.”

In Carson City this year, the Wybles have helped 400 families, or about 1,200 children.

“We average about 2.5 or three kids per family,” said Pat Wyble.

Dave Wyble said Toys for Tots, which distributed 12.9 million toys nationwide last year, was rated the fifth-largest charitable organization for children in a recent Reader’s Digest.

Wyble coordinates distribution in Storey, Lyon and Douglas counties and Carson City. There is a distribution point in each county. In Storey, Community Chest is doing the distribution; in Lyon, the Community Center at 170 Pike St. in Dayton; and in Douglas, it’s in the Gardnerville Ranchos near the sheriff’s substation.

Piel, who helped camouflage the 1st Marine Division’s vehicles before they went to Okinawa in World War II, said the Marines are motivated and effective.

“How a Marine group can bring volunteers to force is really remarkable. They come day after day after day.”

Other groups have helped the reservists and retired Marines.

On Sunday, Michael Neary, a delivery driver for Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, delivered hundreds of wooden toys made by Lowe’s employees.

“Lowe’s has really gone all out for us,” said Wyble. “And Carson Toyota was great – they brought in 38 bikes.”

He also credited Coldwell Banker realty for bringing the most toy donations, and the Carson City Library for its wipe-out-your-fine-by-bringing-in-a-toy program.

Wyble said, “We definitely helped out more people this year,” estimating an increase of about 10 percent.

The crowds that come through are thrilled to get help to provide a nice holiday for their kids, he said. He described one woman who got a bag of goodies, thanked volunteers, and departed. In the bag, she found an origami paper-folding kit -exactly what her daughter wanted – so she ran back upstairs to thank them again.

“That was just one of those fortunate things that happens,” said Wyble.

“She was really excited about that,” said his wife.

To sign up to provide toys for your kids, go in person to the FISH office at 138 East Long St. Toy pickup is at the Nevada Appeal building at 580 Mallory Way behind Lowe’s. Hours are today from 9 a.m. 5 p.m. and on Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m.

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