The annual distribution of Toys for Tots in Lebanon County will take place from Thursday, December 16 to Saturday, December 18.
This year the distribution center will be New Penn Trucking’s previous warehouse at 625 S. 5th St., Lebanon. On delivery days, the warehouse opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m.
John Gingrich has been involved in the county’s Toys for Tots program for 40 years – as long as the program has existed in Lebanon county – and has been the coordinator for 30 years.
“We have grown and grown over the years,” he said of the program. “We look after 900 families in the district.”
The Toys for Tots application process begins October 1st of each year when the applications open on the website for families to complete and submit for approval. The application process will run until the end of October.
On November 1st, collection boxes will be set up in over 250 locations in the municipality by December 10th. From December 10th to 16th, volunteers will bring the boxes back to the distribution point, where toys are sorted, separated and bagged.
According to Gingrich, the age groups are 0-1, 2-3, 4-6, 7-9, 9-12 and 13-15 years old. Families who have applied and approved should come to the warehouse on their assigned date and time to collect the gifts.
“Parents can go through the boxes and find a bag for their child,” said Gingrich. “We put three gifts in each bag and try to mix them up so that each bag contains a small gift, a medium gift and a large gift.”
“It takes a lot of effort to pull this thing off,” he added. “We’re only as good as the community allows us. ”
According to the website, 38,929 toys were distributed and 6,740 children were supported last year. Gingrich does not yet have an estimate of how many donations have been raised this year, but expressed his appreciation for the generosity of the community.
“The community makes this program so strong,” he said.
All postcodes in Lebanon County are eligible to be recipients of toys next year.
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