LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - 'Tis the season for giving and the Marine Corps of Lufkin is giving back by collecting new, unwrapped toys and cash for the "Toys For Tots" campaign.
Santa's got a new ride and this year thousands of Angelina County children will be getting new toys out of the back of 4 retired military vehicles.
Angelina county "Toys For Tots" coordinator, Brian Crews says the 5-ton trucks are a great way to get the word out about the program.
Crews says you can "either make a toy donation or make a cash donation and all the money and toys that are collected are returned right here in Angelina County."
He says he has already received more toy donation requests this year than this time last year. "Well the state of the economy the way it is unfortunately our children are the ones that bear the brunt of the shortcomings and it's not their fault. And what we do with "Toys For Tots" is we believe that giving a child who otherwise may not receive a toy or something for Christmas it gives them an opportunity to know that their loved and know that someone truly cares about them.
Last year the local "Toys For Tots" campaign collected more than 12,000 toys and hope to receive even more this year.
Crews says if "you give a child that's needy or that is less fortunate a new unwrapped toy that really boosts that child's self-confidence. Somebody cares for them. Somebody loves them."
For the Marines, their mission never stops and their mission is to take care of those at home as well as abroad. "So when we're here, the toys for tots program allows us another mission that we can collectively work on as Marines and do what we do best and take care of our people first," said Crews.
The Marine Corps of Lufkin League will continue to collect toy and cash donations through December 16th and they are hosting several fun community events in conjunction with their toy drive.
12/1/12 - The Marine Corps is teaming up with Lufkin Coca Cola to dedicate the basketball facility at Brandon Park. The group will also host a "Mini-Marine Boot camp" to get kids up and moving and motivate. They hope to be able to fill up the trucks with new, unwrapped toys. The event will be from 10:00 - 2:00
12/6/12 - There will be a benefit concert at Clawson Assembly of God where former American Idol finalist, Jason Castro will perform. Doors open at 6PM and the concert will start at 7PM. To get in, all you have to do is bring a new, unwrapped toy.
Then on 12/14 and 12/15 the "Toys for Tots" campaign will make their final push with a 2-day toy drive at the Lufkin Walmart. The Marines will be there all day, both days.
On the 15th, there will be various musical artists from all over the state coming to play. There will be a new group on every hour and a half. Santa Claus will also make a guest appearance, arriving in style in the back of one of the 5-ton military trucks.