Children and toys are a natural combination during the holidays, but not every child is lucky enough to have presents waiting.
A Toys for Tots drive, based in Poway, aims to ensure youngsters who would normally go without a toy will be receiving one this year.
“This is our 16th year holding this event,” said Martin J. Wood, president and CEO of Delkin Devices in Poway. “Last year when all was said and done, we were $90 short of $75,000.”
“The biggest reason why we do this is that we want to share our success with those less fortunate and blessed than we are,” Wood said.
New, unwrapped toys can be placed in any of the 40 to 50 Toys for Tots donation boxes located all over Poway, Ramona and Escondido between now and Dec. 11. Marines will be handing out the toys on Dec. 11.
Many of the donation bins have already been filled and emptied at least once, said Wood. Lobbies and hallways all over town have bikes and toys stored in them.
The organization works directly with the U.S. Marine Corps. The Marines separate the toys for boys and girls and by age, making sure all youngsters have an appropriate gift. Cash donations are used to “fill in holes” when, for example, a certain age group may not have enough toys.
“Of all the charities you can give to, none are better than those vetted and handled by the U.S. Marines,” Wood said.
Marines personally hand out the goodies to the youngsters.
“All the first time Marine volunteers insist that spending the day with 40 or 50 kids or more who have nothing and giving them toys is always so much fun.” Wood said. “They all want to sign up for the giveaway.”
The Toys for Tots Foundation began in 1947 in Los Angeles, and now includes communities in most of the U.S. The goal of the nonprofit is to deliver a message of hope through a new toy. The Marines have distributed more than 512 million toys to more than 237 million youngsters nationwide.
Delkin Devices manufactures flash storage devices and accessories for the medical, aviation and communication industries, as well as for drones and autonomous cars.
Every year the 80 company employees want it to be bigger and better, Wood said.
“Our goal for this year is $100,000 in donations,” he said. “We do our best to outdo ourselves every year. And everyone is so excited about this year and to see what we can do — the kids, our staff, the Marines and the public.”
Wood said 100% of donations go directly to the children. Donations are tax deductible.
The local toy drive for Toys for Tots began in 2006 when Wood and Bo Donovan, former manager of the Ramona Airport, joined to hold the event.
After Donovan died of cancer, Delkin Devices took over the toy drive and kept it going as the company’s charity event. Originally held at the Ramona Airport, the event was moved to Poway last year because of COVID-19 restrictions. This year, the Ramona Airport will join with several other local airports and hold a separate Toys for Tots, drop-off only event.
Marines will be handing out the toys between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 11, at the corner of Walmart Supercenter in Poway, 13425 Community Road. Donations dropped off after the Dec. 11 cutoff date will still be sent to children in need.
In addition to the donation boxes, toys can be taken to Delkin Devices at 13350 Kirkham Way, Poway, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Donations can also be mailed to the address or sent online at www.delkin.com
Other event sponsors include Kahoots, Chuck Hall Aviation in Ramona and WakeWorld.
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