Organizers are working hard to make the ninth year of Toys for Tots a big success for local children.

Toy collection boxes are now appearing in stores and businesses throughout the county, with all expected to be in place by Monday.

“With the community support that we have received over the last eight years I am sure that the community will once again provide the much needed toys to make this year the biggest yet,” said long time Toys for Tots leader Tom Perry. “Last year, even with the inconvenience of (Hurricane) Michael, we were able to provide 846 children toys for their Christmas morning.”

Toys for Tots was started by the United States Marine Corps in 1947 at Los Angeles by a major and his wife. With the help of his reservists, they collected, repaired and distributed toys for the needy children. In 1948, the commandant of the U.S. Marines wrote an order tasking each reserve unit in the U.S. to conduct this operation each year, and this is year 72 of the nationwide effort.” There are now over 800 units like ours that are conducting the toy drives and last year provided toys to over 2.5 million children,” Perry said.

“Traditionally we have kicked off our annual drive with a motorcycle ride through Jackson County. This was disrupted by Michael (last year),” Perry recalled. “We are holding one this year on Sat. Nov. 9th. The riders will contribute cash or toys with a value of $25 each when they register at Beef ‘O’Brady’s between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. The motorcycles will leave there not later than 11:30 a.m., escorted by members of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department. The ride will be approximately 75 miles ending at the Madison Street Pavilion. Once there the riders will be provided food and refreshments as well as door prize drawings. So tell all of your motorcycle buddies to come out and enjoy a fun ride on Saturday morning followed by lunch and prizes.”

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