FORT PAYNE, Ala. – The Marine Toys for Tots of Dekalb County is being crippled by the coronavirus pandemic, but one Fort Payne business is helping in a big way.
Fort Payne Water Works employees and the board are handing over $6,000 to the nonprofit in hopes of making Christmas bright during the COVID-19 crisis.
The deadly virus has forced the group to cancel several fundraisers; cutting them back from the typical 11 to just four.
“What better way to help someone that to help a child and we know there’s a lot of kids in this county that’s needing,” said Fort Payne Water Works executive director Paul Nail. “We’d like to challenge other utilities and department heads in the city to step up and help toys for tots because we think it’s a great cause and these guys do a terrific job.”
It takes around $55,000 to $60,000 plus donated toys to serve the more than 400 families in DeKalb County.
The Marine Toys for Tots of Dekalb County served almost 1,200 children last year.
“This year the criteria is loosened up a little bit and that’s orders from Toys for Tots Foundation,” explained Marine Toys for Tots of DeKalb County coordinator LaRue Hardinger. “Some families due to COVID may be able to pay their bills, but that’s all. And they may not be on public assistance but yet they don’t have anything left over to buy Christmas for their children.”
This year, the Marine Toys for Tots of DeKalb County is putting out fewer donation boxes across the community and has created a Walmart event registry to keep donors and families receiving gifts safe.
“You can go directly on there and pick out one of 340 toys that are most asked for and you can buy them there and ship them directly to us that way there’s no contract,” said Hardinger.
The registry closes the first week of December.
Click here for more information on how to sign up to receive assistance or how to donate.