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Local Toys For Tots Collection Underway
Season Of Giving
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Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20 a group of retired Marine Reserves and other veterans were on duty at Save Mart Supermarket, receiving donations from members of the community for this year’s edition of Toys for Tots. The annual project accepts unwrapped toys to distribute to needy families for the Christmas holiday. Ric McGinnis/The News

This past Saturday, Nov. 20 people may have seen Santa Claus at Save Mart Supermarket in Riverbank, preparing for the upcoming Christmas holiday along with the US Marine Corp Reserve Toys for Tots, CASA del Rio, and CVCR (Central Valley Community Resources) collecting toys for those in need.

They will be collecting new unwrapped toys through Thursday, Dec.16 at several locations throughout Riverbank such as Riverbank Unified School District, Save Mart, CASA del Rio, Envy, Farmer Boys, Glam, City Hall North, Get Toasted, Riverbank Library, Perez Farmers Insurance, TSW Financial, Mesquite Restaurant and Riverbank Police Services.

Monetary donations are also accepted with checks payable to Toys for Tots Riverbank or CVCR.

The 52nd Annual Craft Faire and Christmas Parade in downtown Riverbank are set for Saturday, Nov. 27 and the Marines plan to participate in the parade and will be accepting toy donations that day as well. The craft fair will begin at noon, and the parade is slated to begin around 5:30 p.m. The tree lighting will commence after the parade, at Plaza del Rio Park.

This past Saturday Master Gunnery Sergeant, ret., Ray Bael and his wife Edith; Marine Dennis Smees; Leslie Kaczmart, Army; Mike Farley, Navy; Santa’s helper Gabriel Key, a member of Riverbank Troop 1100; Santa Claus himself; and District 4 Councilmember Darlene Barber-Martinez and CEO of CVCR, were on hand to receive the steady flow of toy donations. The day was a success as they received 52 toys and three large bags of donations as well as monetary donations.

Children that stopped by had the opportunity to tell Santa what they want for Christmas and take a picture with him.

The toys collected will be distributed on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for families in need that registered in advance and reside in Riverbank.

Barber-Martinez has been participating in the Toys for Tots program for several years, noting that no child should go without a present for Christmas.

The annual Toys for Tots campaign kicked off over the weekend, with booths staffed by retired Marine Reservists and other veterans, as well as members of the Central Valley Community Resources of Riverbank. Here, City Council member Darlene Barber-Martinez, also of CVCR, and Santa’s helper Gabriel Key, a member of Riverbank Boy Scout Troop 1100 help a visiting youngster who was donating an unwrapped toy, at the booth in front of the Save Mart Supermarket in Crossroads Shopping center. Ric McGinnis/The News