With Christmas just a few weeks away, the Kleberg-Kenedy County Toys for Tots campaign is moving into its final stretch as organizers ready for the last push to receive applications, accept donations and call for volunteers to help ready gifts for needy children this holiday season.
“The applications are rolling in, we’ve gotten some real good donations so far,” Co-coordinator Rebecca Sanchez said.
Started in 1987, the Kleberg-Kenedy County Toys for Tots campaign collects monetary and new, unopened toy donations from October to mid-December every year. Donations are used to provide underprivileged area children gifts of toys for Christmas.
The campaign covers children living in Kleberg and Kenedy counties, as well as in Bishop.
“The last I checked, we were over 1,000 kids,” Co-coordinator Stefanie Perryman said. “We typically serve between 1,500 and 2,000 (children), so that number will go up.”
To receive toys, families must fill out and submit an online application. The deadline to submit an application is Dec. 10.
Online applications can be found on the campaign’s website at kingsville-tx.toysfortots.org, under “Request a Toy – Family and Individual Request Form.”
After accepting an agreement to not auction, sell or take donated toys out of state for distribution, applicants can fill out their contact information along with the name, gender and age of up to 10 children receiving toys.
Applicants are also required to provide a verification letter (Form TF0001 or Form F1009) to qualify, which will need to be presented at the time of pick up during the distribution period.
Perryman said for families without Internet access, the Kingsville LULAC Manor Apartments, located at 1220 N. 17th St., is offering assistance with filling out and submitting applications.
“They’ll let (families) use their computers, and sit down with them to help fill out the application,” she said.
Toy and monetary donations are still being collected through Dec. 14, with organizers scheduled to be in front of the Walmart store at 1133 E. General Cavazos Blvd. in Kingsville this Saturday, Dec. 7, from noon to 4 p.m.
A “last chance to donate” event, with the help of the deputies from the Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office, will be held next weekend at the Kingsville Chamber of Commerce, located at 635 E. King Ave., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14.
“So come on out and make a donation,” Sanchez said.
Perryman said the campaign is also asking for volunteers to help fulfill toy requests for applicants from Dec. 16-20 at the campaign’s headquarters, located at 2005 N. 14th St.
“We’re really going to need a lot of volunteers,” she said.
Perryman said the headquarters will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. that week for volunteers to help fulfill orders. She said any amount of time they are able to assist “will be a big help.”
“For however long you can,” Perryman said. “Even if it’s just for 30 minutes, we can get so much done in that amount of time if there’s enough people to do it. Every little bit helps.”
“And it’s open volunteering,” Sanchez said. “You don’t have to call us beforehand. Just show up on those days, between those times, and somebody there will get you started.”
Volunteers must be at least 14 years or older, Perryman said.
For more information, to make a donation or to volunteer, contact Perryman at (417) 496-6071 or Sanchez at (361) 474-0710.
The campaign can also be reached on Facebook by typing “kingsvilletoysfortots” in the site’s search bar or in messenger.
Anthony Ruiz can be contacted at email@example.com or (361) 221-0251.