Last updated on October 6, 2022
Collection boxes are sprouting up around Western North Carolina as the 2022 Toys for Tots campaign officially launched on October 1.
Each year, the Local Toys for Tots Program provides toys to less fortunate children in Western North Carolina.
In 2021, the local chapter of Toys for Tots sponsored 762 children by distributing 3,933 toys to children in Western North Carolina. 2021 was also more the first time in the local program’s history that a new coordinating agency handled distribution. The Franklin Chamber of Commerce volunteered to take on the program last year when the program might not have otherwise occurred. This year, 828 Vets is taking over and will operate the program moving forward. Prior to 2021, Smoky Mountain Toys for Tots was headquartered in Franklin, however, the Toys for Tots Programs served families in Macon, Jackson, Swain, Haywood, and Rabun counties. Because it is 828 Vets’ first year taking over the program, they have scaled down to just Macon County to get off the ground.
Toys for Tots was founded by a United States Marine Corps reservist in 1947 as a way to make sure underprivileged children received toys at Christmas.
Local toy collection campaigns begin in October and last until mid to late December. Toy distribution also takes place mid to late December. Members of the community drop new, unwrapped toys in collection boxes positioned in local businesses. Coordinators pick up the toys and store them in central warehouses where the toys are sorted by age and gender.
Drop-off boxes for new, unwrapped toys are located in several local stores, including the Macon County detention Center and Macon County Sheriff’s Office Annex in town. Suggested donations include games, any building or constructing toys, puzzles, STEM toys, and anything for the 0-2 ages.
When the program began 75 years ago, it was just after World War II. Over 400,000 Americans had given their life for this county in the conflict, and millions of children had little or no hope for a typical Christmas. This need was the beginning of what is today one of the most generous philanthropies with a 97% rate of charitable flow through.
For more information about 828 Vets Toys for Tots, email Coordinator Jack Brennan at JB@828Vets.com.