It’s never too early to start the annual Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign.
The kickoff event took place last Thursday at Mission BBQ, 11000 Roosevelt Blvd.
The event featured appearances by the Philadelphia police and fire departments, the Marine Corps League, Amazon, City Councilman Bobby Henon (D-6th dist.), Father Judge High School students and local coordinator Anne Marie Muldoon, owner of Avenue Chiropractic, 6233 Frankford Ave.
Muldoon, who has been active with the charity since 2010, noted that most of the Philadelphia volunteers and donations come from the Northeast. She hopes to enlist at least one volunteer in each ZIP code.
“Every child deserves a Christmas,” she said.
Mission BBQ plays the Star-Spangled Banner every day at noon, and this time the national anthem was performed by police officer Nate Fulton.
Henon credited Muldoon and Mission BBQ’s Shannon Sperduto for organizing the kickoff event. The councilman secured a warehouse in Bridesburg to house the toys before Christmas.
Donations were down in 2020 due to the coronavirus, and Henon is hoping the city is able to distribute 60,000 toys this year. The councilman welcomes donations at his office at 6730 Torresdale Ave.
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Matthew Everett, who is leading the Philadelphia effort, explained that the pandemic limited donations in 2020 to 30,000.
New and unwrapped toys will be accepted through Dec. 17.
Boxes will be at police districts, most fire stations and participating businesses. To make things easier, businesses are welcome to drop off their boxes at police districts for transportation to the warehouse.
In addition, Amazon’s Steve Kelly announced that his company will provide trucks to pick up boxes of toys for delivery to the warehouse.
For more information, go to www.toysfortots.org. ••