Toys for Tots kicks off 2020 effort

From left: Philadelphia Police SWAT’s Brian Murray, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Staff Sgt. Matthew Everett, Avenue Chiropractic owner Dr. Anne Marie Muldoon, Marine Reserve Sgt. Stephanie Diamond, SWAT’s Jermaine Davis.

The United States Marine Corps Reserve last week launched its local Toys for Tots program at Avenue Chiropractic, 6233 Frankford Ave.

Avenue Chiropractic owner Anne Marie Muldoon on Oct. 29 welcomed City Councilman Bobby Henon (D-6th dist.) and representatives of the Philadelphia Police Department, Warriors’ Watch Riders, Marine Corps League, Father Judge High School and Keystone Academy Charter School. Joanne Farrell Dickerson sang the Star-Spangled Banner.

Muldoon recognized Mission BBQ and the Winchester Park Civic Association as two other key supporters.

The Marines are seeking new, unwrapped toys for distribution to Philadelphia children in need.

Last year, the local effort resulted in more than 53,000 toys going to some 44,000 kids.

Staff Sgt. Matthew Everett is coordinating the program in greater Philadelphia. Last year, he assisted the effort.

Everett explained that Toys for Tots works with nonprofits to identify needy families. More than 240 businesses place boxes in their stores, and toys are taken to a warehouse to be separated by age and gender.

Everett said toys can be taken to places such as Mission BBQ, Pep Boys, Five Below, Vitamin Shoppe and CubeSmart. Toys are also collected at special events. And some people make cash donations so Marines can do the shopping.

The coronavirus pandemic could hurt donations this year.

“COVID makes it difficult, but like Marines, we’ll adapt and overcome,” Everett said. “No child wants to be left without a toy on Christmas.”

Councilman Bobby Henon, Avenue Chiropractic owner Anne Marie Muldoon

Muldoon said people are welcome to visit Avenue Chiropractic to donate toys or pick up boxes to place at their business on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Henon’s office, at 6730 Torresdale Ave., is accepting toys weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The councilman credited Muldoon for leading the charge in Mayfair for the last decade. He said she has turned her passion into a mission.

In 2020, with job losses and remote school learning caused by the pandemic, Henon said kids need normalcy and families need happiness. He’s hoping people will do a little more for Toys for Tots this year.

“The joy far outweighs the sacrifice,” he said.

Muldoon, who has been an area Toys for Tots coordinator for the last several years, believes children who have happy memories of holidays become productive adults.

“Every child should have a Christmas,” she said.

For more information, visit philadelphia-pa.toysfortots.org. ••