MARTHA K. SEAGLE
For Ann Reep, collecting and distributing toys to needy children during the annual Marine Corps Reserve â€œToys for Totsâ€ campaign defines Christmas.
â€œEvery child deserves a little Christmas,â€ says Reep. â€œA toy may seem unimportant to some people, but to a child at Christmas it is the most important thing in the world. A shiny new toy lets a child know that someone cares and that the magic of Christmas hasnâ€™t passed him or her by.â€
This year, Reep has more than a thousand children on her Christmas list. The Marine Corps Reserveâ€™s campaign also helps several other charities in the Lincoln County area. In all, the campaign needs nearly 4,000 toys to meet area needs.
â€œFor Ann, gathering and giving out these toys is her Christmas,â€ said Steve Reep, Annâ€™s husband and retired USMC Master Gunnery Sergeant. Steve Reep is a former commander of the Capt. Jeb F. Seagle Marine Corps League Detachment 1265, which sponsors Lincoln Countyâ€™s annual campaign.
â€œEvery year on Christmas Day, we get at least one phone call telling us of a family whose children donâ€™t have anything for Christmas,â€ Steve Reep said. â€œWhen she gets that call, Ann is in the car headed to that home to take something for those kids. She will not see a child go without a toy on Christmas Day.â€
The Toys for Tots campaign and other area efforts such as Christian Ministries of Lincoln County coordinate with each other to prevent duplication of services. By coordinating, these groups can make sure that donations are distributed equitably to those truly in need.
Toys for Tots began in 1947 when retired USMC Colonel William L. Hendricks tried to find a place to donate a doll that was handmade by his wife for a needy child. When he couldnâ€™t find an organization, his wife suggested that he start one.
Hendricks did as his wife directed, and every year since 1948 the USMC Reserves have sponsored a nationwide toy campaign.
According to the organizationâ€™s website, the goal of the program is to deliver a message of hope to help motivate less fortunate children and build their self-esteem. The organization has distributed more than 400 million toys to 1.8 million children since it was founded.
Want to help?
There are over 55 Toys for Tots drop-off locations in Lincoln County and surrounding areas, including all Lincoln County Schools and Lincoln Charter Schools. In addition, the following businesses are drop-off locations: (BEGIN BULLETS)
Denver Fire Department, Denver
Oâ€™Reillyâ€™s Auto Parts, Lincolnton
Zipperâ€™s Restaurant, Lincolnton
Big Lots, Lincolnton
Buddy Stasneyâ€™s Buick-GMC, Lincolnton
Abernethy Chevrolet and Dodge, Lincolnton
Griffin Brothers Tires, Lincolnton
Dollar General Stores, Lincolnton, Denver, Vale and Cherryville
Ronâ€™s Printing Shop, Denver
Open Road Cycles, Denver
Salon #16, Denver
Lake Norman Gym, Denver
Trucker Supply, Denver
Guardian Self-Storage, Denver
Dr. Casonâ€™s Wellness, Denver
Bark, Bath and Beyond, Lincolnton
Lincoln Self-Storage, Lincolnton
Factory Mattress Sales, Lincolnton
If you want to share a little bit of your good fortune with a less fortunate child, drop of a new unwrapped toy at a location near you. If you prefer, you can make a monetary donation on-line at ToysforTots.org.