After a three-year absence, Toys for Tots — a program that collects new toys to distribute to families for Christmas — is returning to Albany County.
Registration is underway for participating families, and collection bins for toys and monetary donations will be popping up at businesses around Laramie in coming weeks.
Families can register for the program from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays this month at the Lincoln Community Center, 365 W. Grand Ave. They need to bring a state-issued form of identification and documents showing proof of household income and proof of local residency.
For the children, they need to bring either a birth certificate, a Social Security card or documents showing proof of guardianship.
Once they register, families will receive a time to collect their toys starting Dec. 5. Toys will be packaged for pick-up by volunteers and distributed drive-through style, said coordinator Tonia Ridge.
Ridge said families are requested to show that they have a local address because organizers want to make sure the toys are distributed in the communities where they’re collected.
“If we’re collecting toys from Albany County, we want the toys to stay in Albany County for the children,” she said.
Meanwhile, Toys for Tots will collect new toys and monetary donations in coming weeks at participating locations, including Walmart and Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply. Toys also will be collected during the Downtown Laramie Holiday Parade on Dec. 4.
“It’s going to be a fun year,” she said.
Toys for Tots was started in 1947 by a member of the Marine Corps Reserve who couldn’t find an agency that would accept a donation of handmade dolls to give to children. The program was implemented at all Marine Corps Reserve sites around the country before eventually becoming a standalone foundation. Today, Toys for Tots distributes 18 million toys to 7 million children each year.
Ridge said the Marine Corps League Detachment 777 supports the Albany County program.
For more information or to make a donation online, visit laramie-wy.toysfortots.org.