Every year, Lincoln County Toys for Tots makes Christmas that much merrier for area children and easier on their guardians. Their campaign normally starts in early October, but this year, they have a space problem. In the past, the organization used the Lincoln County Veteran’s Center, but the county had to shut the building down to do some needed repairs. The Marine Corps League and other local veteran organizations usually hold fundraisers and use those funds for maintenance and repairs but with the pandemic nothing could be scheduled.

Space is needed, preferably 600 to 1,000 feet, but larger is even better, in Lincolnton, where campaign supplies (toys, advertising materials, boxes) can be stored all year long. The space would also be used when it comes time for volunteers to sort, bag and distribute toys during the holiday season. 

“A warehouse type building would be great but any space that we could use for the aforementioned purposes would be great,” Janice Rollins said. “We start the campaign in early October but don’t start sorting and bagging toys until the last week of November. We try our best to get all toys distributed by mid-December or the weekend before Christmas.”

Lincoln County Parks and Recreation has offered temporary storage for our leftover bikes, Rollins added. 

“We were supposed to store them there just for a few months until we find a space solution, but we have left our bikes there since we moved out in March,” she said. “American Legion has offered a small room to store items but it’s not big enough for all of our merchandise. We have a business owner who has offered to store all our merchandise but there has been a delay in finishing their building. It’d be helpful to find a space where we can conduct all of our operations. Maybe we are just not asking the right people.”

Rollins volunteered for a few years at Christian Ministry's soup kitchen. Then she had to take a break to focus more on her business.

“When the opportunity opened up for new coordinators for Toys for Tots, my husband, Randy, who is a retired Marine, and I prayed about it,” she said. “We decided it is something we both wanted to do to give back to community. If no one took over, Toys for Tots for Lincoln County would have been shut down and all clients would have been sent over to Gastonia. We know that a lot of parents wouldn’t be able to travel to Gastonia for toys, which basically means many Lincoln County kids would end up with little or no gifts during Christmas. We didn’t want that. Toys for Tots is my family's little way of helping the impoverished children of Lincoln County. It’s also very special to Randy because it’s Marine Corps sponsored program.”

When the Rollins first started with Toys for Tots, they started about 900 kids. The organization served 1,400 last year.

If anyone is able to help this important organization with its space needs, (980) 222-0031 or email Lincolnton.nc@toysfortots.org.

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