BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
The annual Salvation Army Toy Drive at its Port Clinton Service Center will continue this Christmas season, providing as many as 1,100 kids around Ottawa County with gifts this year.
It will take a lot of extra effort, said Director Maureen Saponari of the Salvation Army, 1854 E. Perry St., Port Clinton, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Generous people are needed to donate toys, and more volunteers than usual will be required to distribute them to families while following Ohio Health Department mandates.
The Toy Drive will distribute toys over a five-day period, and families will need to complete special forms and be assigned a time slot to visit the Salvation Army Service Center to get them. The forms are available around the clock in the vestibule of the Salvation Army Service Center in Port Clinton.
“You can see we already are gathering toys,” said Saponari, while taking a brief tour of the Service Center storage area’s collection of dolls, games and other toys. “But we have a long way to go. We know how important the Toy Drive is for a lot of families, and we are working with many groups and our special army of volunteers to make it a success.”
The Toy Drive is accepting toys through Monday, Dec. 14. If there are questions or suggestions, Saponari’s office crew at the Salvation Army can be reached at 419-732-2769.
Salvation Army Toy Boxes have been set up all around the county to encourage people to donate new, unwrapped gifts. The toy collection boxes are in local stores, churches, banks and businesses through Friday, Dec.11. Toy donations can be dropped off at: 1812 Restaurant, Bassett’s, The Beacon, Ciao Bella, Civilian Marksmanship Program, Cleats, Commodore Perry, Croghan Colonial, Crosswinds, Crow’s Nest, Dollar General, Erie Social Club, , First Federal of Lorain, First National, Fredrick Agency, Libraries, Huntington National Banks, Key Bank, Jamestown Tavern, Lagoon Saloon, Lakeside, Muffler Smith’s, Mutach’s, Newport Dry Goods, Northern Exposure, ODOT, The Orchard, Ottawa County Sheriff, Catawba Jewelers, R Coffee Corner, Twin Oast, RJ’s Ice Cream, Salon 53, US CBP Sandusky Bay, WPCR, Ottawa County churches and The Salvation Army-Port Clinton Service Unit.
Donations can also be mailed to: The Salvation Army, 1834 East Perry St., Port Clinton, Ohio 43452.
On a national level, Walmart stores will have Angel Tree Tags in its stores and a Registry for Good wish list of toys for the Port Clinton and Ottawa County communities.
Despite the pandemic, Walmart’s Angel Tree program will continue this year. Anyone wishing to purchase a gift for a child in their community can do so in person at Walmart Stores. Simply pick a tag off the Angel Tree located inside your local Walmart.
Online shoppers can also use Walmart’s Registry for Good. Gifts purchased online will be delivered directly to The Salvation Army in Port Clinton. People can log on to their Walmart accounts, search for the Registry for Good, link to the Port Clinton Salvation Army with its 43452 Zip Code, and select toys for purchase that will be delivered to the Salvation Army Service Center.
Also helping the Salvation Army this year will be the Weapons Division, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment; and the Ottawa County Holiday Bureau.
The goal of the Salvation Army is that every child will have a Christmas gift to enjoy this year. The most needed gifts are for youngsters from 13 to 18 years old.
The Coats for Families Program will also continue this Christmas season, but this year only new coats can be donated, and by appointment only. The coats will be distributed the week of Dec. 15.