Toys for Tots 2011 campaign summary

By: Frank Neves Jr. special to The News Messenger
-A +A
BY FRANK NEVES JR. SPECIAL TO THE NEWS MESSENGER This year, we collected more than 7,500 toys, 602 books and 1,303 stocking stuffers from all sources. Distributions were made to the Lincoln Lions Club, the Friends of Leonard Program (youth who are in out-of-home care or whose parents are in recovery programs to combat substance abuse or other problems), the Episcopal Church and the Saint Vincent de Paul Society in Lincoln. In Rocklin, toys were provided to Fire Chief Bill Mikesell to assist a coalition composed of the fire department, the Rocklin Unified School District and the South Placer County Rotary Club in their efforts to provide for families in need. Toys were picked up by Ed Silva and his fellow Knights of Columbus members affiliated with the Saint Rose Catholic Church in Roseville and turned over to the Salvation Army and Saint Roses’ Christmas basket programs. Once the needs of communities we cover (Lincoln, Loomis, Penryn, Granite Bay, part of Auburn, Roseville and Rocklin) were met, we gave toys to organizations serving families in Olivehurst, Auburn, Linda, Colusa and Sacramento. This year, the fire departments of Penryn, Lincoln, Rocklin and Roseville helped in our toy collection efforts. We were also fortunate to have 16 wineries from the Placer County Regional Wineries & Vineyards devote one weekend to collecting toys. As usual, special Christmas events, such as organizational breakfasts, luncheons and dinners brought in a significant number of toys for our program. Students at two Lincoln schools participated in school-based toy collection efforts. A 10-year-old girl asked partygoers attending her birthday party to bring gifts for Toys for Tots in lieu of gifts for herself. She and her mother personally delivered the toys collected. Many others need to be acknowledged for giving of themselves and their resources to our 2011 toy campaign. George and Joan Ahart of Coon Creek Trap & Skeet provide us with free space to store leftover toys and our toy boxes during the off season. They purchased the metal storage container we use for storage purposes at Coon Creek and have been sponsoring a yearly event at Coon Creek for several years on the weekend after Thanksgiving when they provide incentives for shooters to donate toys. Ralph Gaw, facility manager at Lincoln Mini Storage, and his company, and David Keon, property manager, and his company, California Storage Centers in Rocklin, provide us with free storage space for our toys during the collection phase of our campaign. John Reilly is our Santa Claus. He has all the bells and whistles, uniform-wise, to make the ideal Santa. John loves kids and adults and everyone who encounters him sees that right away. This year, we were fortunate to have LaHoma Caudill, Mrs. Placer County—America 2011, join our team. LaHoma is a very articulate and graceful young lady, who, like John, loves interacting with others. Special thanks to Semper Fi Association member Ben Hovis for again coordinating our entry and participation in the Lincoln Christmas parade. We also thank our many financial donors. Some gave in memory of deceased relatives or friends; others to ensure a joyous Christmas morning for kids in need. Everyone who dropped toys in our collection boxes and allowed us to place toy collection boxes on their premises also deserve a thank you on behalf of the kids served. Finally, we must not forget our route drivers and their supportive spouses and families. They pick up the toys placed in our toy boxes and see that they get properly stored until the time comes to turn them over to the toy distribution agencies. Thank you to route drivers Nancy Granelli Taylor, Paul Kroll, Stacie Evans, John Johnson, Gary Adair, Jim Kennemore, Robert Morrisey, Harry Dietrich, Bob Friend, Ed Johnston, Bill Sievers, Tim Cooney, Robert Tatosian, Richard Zimmerman, Bob McCollum, Tom Fox and Roy McAfee. And much thanks to my assistant, Harry Maker, and his wife, Diane, and my wife, Fran. Fran and Diane have been super in their support of Harry and me throughout the 2011 campaign. Frank Neves Jr. is the Toys for Tots Coordinator for Southwest Placer County.