By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Toys for Tots will soon be setting up collection centers around Quincy, the first step in the nonprofit organization's effort to help brighten the Christmas season for local children whose families are in need.
Steve Lindsey, a former Marine who coordinates the Quincy area effort for Toys for Tots, says there is a relatively small window to accomplish such a huge task.
"Our collection areas will be up and running Nov. 15 through Dec. 16," Lindsey said. "Along with collecting toys, we'll be trying to raise about $20,000 to get toys for special needs and older children."
A year ago, Toys for Tots distributed 10,000 toys to 2,500 local children, plus raising the needed $20,000 fort the specialized gifts.
"Everyone should know that 93 cents out of every dollar raised for Toys for Tots here in Quincy stays here in Quincy," Lindsey said. "The other 7 cents goes for things like printing costs for raffle tickets (to raise money)."
Toys for Tots is an outreach of the U.S. Marine Corps League and based in Quantico, Va.
Conformed collection sites will be available at Wal-Mart, Shopko, Kmart, Menards Gem City Ford, Refreshment Services Pepsi (12th and Locust), Big Lots, Illinois Veterans Home, WGEM, Dollar General on North 12th, Quincy Notre Dame, UPS Store on Broadway, Famers Bank in Liberty and John Wood Community College. More sites are expected to be added in the coming days.
Lindsey said four fundraisers are currently scheduled, which started Friday when selected restaurants in Quincy will accept $1 pledges from customers to Toys for Tots. Starting the week of Nov. 11, raffle tickets will be available to win a first-place prize of a meat bundle and accompanying freezer or a $100 shopping card from the Quincy Mall. Contact Lindsey at (217) 653-1803 or Charlie Ledbetter at (217) 430-9425 for ticket information on raffle tickets.
Two other fundraisers are scheduled for early December, the first 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Quincy Senior and Family Resource Center, 639 York, featuring "Quarter Madness," an auction event. The other is 8-10 a.m. Dec. 7 at Applebee's restaurant. The theme is a "Pancake Breakfast for Santa" for $5, with Toys for Tots receiving $4 of every purchase.
Toys for Tots volunteers will also be marching in the Nov. 9 Veterans Parade in downtown Quincy. The volunteers will collect toys along the parade route.
Families or individuals who would like assistance from Toys for Tots may sign up at Quincy Catholic Charities, 620 Maine, from Nov. 12 through Dec. 6.