DEXTER — The Dexter Toys for Tots program is in dire need of donations if the needs of the hundreds of children in the area are to be met this Christmas season.
“We have no money this year,” Ed Walker, Dexter recreation director and the program’s coordinator, said Monday. “We need funding desperately.”
Last year, about 400 area children received Christmas presents and warm winter clothing through the Dexter Toys for Tots program. Coordinators anticipate an equally busy distribution program for this year’s holiday.
All financial donations are used to purchase winter clothing, such as boots, coats and mittens for children in need. Donated toys and gifts also are distributed through the program to families whose children otherwise would receive no gifts to open Christmas morning.
Last year, 20 families were found to be in need of assistance the afternoon before Christmas, Walker said. Last-minute collections and purchasing made it possible for the gifts to be delivered on Christmas Day.
“Nearly every year on Christmas Eve, we find we have 20 to 30 families that we didn’t know that we had.” These families are often the most in need of clothing and gifts, Walker said.
To help decide what the needs are, Walker this year asked that the names of families who are to be included in the program be submitted to the Dexter Town Office by Dec. 15.
Starting this week, Walker will assemble the donated goods for distribution. The project needs good used or new clothing, such as boots, coats, mittens and hats. New or used toys and books in good condition also are requested. Items for ages 12-15 are particularly welcome.
Some families in Dexter adopt a family for Christmas, purchasing clothing and toys for the children on their list separately from the program, Walker said. This donation works out well because the child can make a specific request.
Residents also may donate cash and checks, which may be dropped off at the town office.
Walker said he would pick up bags of toys or clothing from residents at their homes. Arrangements may be made by calling the Dexter Town Office.
Walker reminds residents that donated goods need to be in good working repair and clean. Donations will be accepted until Dec. 18.