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Donate Toys For Tots This Giving Season
Volunteers from across the community were on hand at the Save Mart store in the Crossroads Shopping Center on Saturday, Nov. 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., to help collect new toys that were donated to the local Toys For Tots campaign. The Marine Corps Reserve program annually gathers donated new toys to distribute to local families for their children, up to age 12. Ric McGinnis/The News

Although several charity events have been canceled due to COVID-19 there are still a few organizations within the Riverbank community gathering donations to help those in need. CASA del Rio, Central Valley Community Resources (CVCR), and Valley Improvement Projects have partnered with the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign once again.

“The Toy Drive was great,” stated Darlene Barber-Martinez CEO CVCR. “All kinds of toys and books were donated.”

Volunteers from the different organizations gathered on Saturday, Nov. 21 to collect new toys for children from babies to 12 years old. Flags were displayed and the beautiful sunny California weather was perfect for the toy drive held outside in front of Save Mart in the Crossroads Shopping Center. Not only were people able to drop off new toys for kids but they could also take a pictures with Frosty the Snowman. The snowman was created by the Afterschool program at Cardozo Middle School and really brought out some smiles from people.

Barber-Martinez expressed that several toys received were for the 0 to 9-year-old age group and not so many toys donated for kids between 10 to 12. Currently donations are still being accepted throughout the Riverbank community with boxes at Save Mart, the Riverbank Unified School District office, Farmers Insurance, F&M Bank, City Hall North, and TSW/CVCR on Santa Fe Street through Dec. 14.

The Toy distribution will be held on Saturday, Dec. 19 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for the families that have pre-registered.

“Outstanding moments were people posing with Frosty the Snowman who was made by the Afterschool program at Cardozo,” added Barber-Martinez. “These pictures were free. Donations are especially needed this year because of the pandemic. Many have lost their jobs or a loved one. Anything we can do to brighten this holiday season will help. Parents and guardians need our help.”

The giving season is upon us and the need seems to be bigger this year than in years past. There are many families in need so those involved with the Toys for Tots campaign encourage residents to spread some Christmas joy for kids in the community by donating a new toy.

Organizers advised that donations of bikes for kids of all ages are still needed as well.

Save Mart Manager Robert Alton, left, shows organizer Darlene Barber-Martinez some of the new toys that have been donated to the local Toys For Tots effort at his store last week. On Saturday, Nov. 21, volunteers gathered in front of the grocery to accept donations to the project. Ric McGinnis/The News