Toys for Tots

  • Photo/Kyla Hurt. Carter Stice, 4, burrows into his mom’s hoodie. Carter was a bit unsure about Santa, said mom, but he did warm up to a high-five a bit later. When asked how old he was, Carter put out his hand to show the “4” drawn on it. (Seems he was still maybe a little shy.) The toys and event is completely voluntary and allows kids from newborn to age 14 a chance at some extra Christmas joy. Ritzo added, “The community really came through with their donations.”
  • Photo/Kyla Hurt. Gunny Tucker, the 2015 Marine of the Year, dragged a large box of toys to his car. Mr. Ralph A. Tucker delivered toys and gifts to schools. This year’s 35th annual event was held at First Christian Church of Jacksonville.  Having been held at the American Legion for the last 25 years, “First Christian Church did a tremendous job in accommodating us for a venue,” said Tim Ritzo with the local Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots program.
  • Photo/Kyla Hurt. Seven year-old Abby Marquard was the lucky recipient of a new bicycle at this year’s Toys for Tots Christmas party. Jerry Lowe, a charter member of the West Central Illinois Leathernecks, presented the bike to Ms. Marquard. She was one of over 900 children registered for the event.
  • Tim Ritzo (right), Coordinator of Toys For Tots, presents a Certificate of Appreciation to Steve Morthole (left) and The Western Illinois Contractors Association for their help with this year’s program.  Toys For Tots, started in 1947 in California, is in its 35th year in Jacksonville, and is sponsored locally by the West Central Illinois Leathernecks Marine Corps League #1177. The Western Illinois Contractors Association has been one of Toys for Tots’ greatest contributors for many years, said Ritzo. A check presentation occurred prior.
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About the author

Kyla Hurt is a capable boondoggler trained in the arts; she’s also an accomplished event coordinator with experience from museum fundraising to art festivals. She enjoys puppies, sunshine, and good radishes – and wit. Wit is good, too.

View all articles by Kyla Hurt

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