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United Way of North Central Florida Launches 4th Annual Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots Campaign

United Way of North Central Florida Launches 4th Annual Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots Campaign

Last year, UWNCFL served more than 450 local children

United Way of North Central Florida is pleased to announce it is now accepting applications for the Annual Toys for Tots drive through November 19th. The program, in partnership with the United States Marine Corps Reserve, aims to provide local children of low-income families with toys to open on Christmas. This is the fourth year the United Way of North Central Florida has participated in the toy distribution program.

Last year, the agency distributed brand-new toys to more than 450 Alachua County children. Eligible applicants must be Alachua County residents, already receive Social Security, Medicaid, Food Stamps, or TANF Assistance and eligibility is limited to children 12 years of age and under. Applications are taken on a first-come, first-served basis.  

As a partner with the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program, UWNCFL has been the largest distributor of toys in the area since 2013, said UWNCFL President and CEO Deborah Bowie.

“This is one of the favorite volunteer events we have during the year,” Bowie said. “Our staff and volunteers have come to love the toy giveaway because we know something so simple and small as a toy will bring lots of smiles on Christmas morning. While we think of basic needs as food, shelter, safety and clothing as critical community services, we also don’t underestimate the joy of giving and receiving during the holiday season.”

The objectives of the annual Toys for Tots drive are to help children in need experience the joy of Christmas, to nurture the development of children, to unite members of local communities in a common cause and to contribute to the future betterment of communities. In the 63 years since the Toys for Tots program began, the Marines have distributed more than 419 million toys to more than 195 million underprivileged children nationwide, said Toys for Tots Campaign Coordinator, Norinda Yancey, who also serves as the Education and School-based Initiatives Manager for UWNCFL.  

“We’re thrilled about the continued partnership,” Yancey said. “We expect a huge response so it’s important for people who meet the criteria to respond quickly in order to be selected.”

Eligible applicants will receive toys during the distribution day at the United Way of North Central Florida office located at 6031 NW 1st Place at times pre-approved for families that meet the criteria. Only eligible applicants who have applied and been approved will be eligible for toy distribution.

Families interested in applying should dial 2-1-1 or (352) 332-4636 for guidance through the application process from now until November 19th. 2-1-1 is the United Way of North Central Florida’s free, 24-hour information and referral helpline.  

For media interested in interviewing or providing press coverage for the event, please contact: Amy Azoulay, United Way of North Central Florida Communications Manager.

To find out more information about Toys for Tots, and for updates about the Toys for Tots distribution day, please call 2-1-1.

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