NEW PORT RICHEY — Heeding the advice that it takes a village to raise a child, the West Pasco community is banding together again through Toys for Tots to make sure needy children have gifts under the Christmas tree this year.
During the 2012 campaign, the group distributed 23,507 toys to 7563 children, according to Christian Isaly, coordinator for the local campaign.
“I have been involved in this program for 19 years and the season is once again approaching,” Isaly wrote in a recent message to supporters. “You have probably seen Christmas displays in many stores.”
While planning began many months ago for the 2013 drive, Toys for Tots kicks into high gear by November as collection boxes begin to pop up at stores and businesses.
Marine Corps League Detachment 567 heads up the annual toy drive here, under authority of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Isaly explained.
“But it is by no means an exclusive effort,” Isaly remarked. “It is a grass roots organization of over 1,000 community members who participate in the enormous task of collecting toys, raising money to purchase toys, and distributing toys to children in need in West Pasco County.”
For instance, Wells Fargo intends to donate 100 Mack plush ponies to distribute to local children, according to Kate Wilson, a regional Wells Fargo representative.
Mack is Wells Fargo’s 13th stuffed pony toy, Wilson explained, in honor of the horses that worked in the company’s express business or pulled its stagecoaches. Mack and 600 other horses pulled eight stages daily in the early 1860s for the Wells Fargo route from Placerville, Calif., to Carson City, Nev.
More volunteers are welcomed, Isaly said, particularly for a Christmas parade event Dec. 14 and a toy distribution date on Dec. 21.
For information call, tollfree, (877) 848-0011, go online to www.toysfortotswestpasco.org, check the Facebook page or find T4TWestPasco on Twitter.