By LINDA LOBECK
IRON MOUNTAIN - The annual Toys for Tots campaign has kicked off in the local area to supply toys for needy children this holiday season, announced Skip Bilsky, coordinator.
The program has been in existence for 67 years, starting in Los Angeles and is organized by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
"The local Marine Corps Reserve acknowledges the Toys for Tots donations received during the 2011 campaign. We want to also express our appreciation for the vendors and merchants for their support," Bilsky said.
The drop-off site for this year's campaign is 617 N. Stephenson Ave., on the corner of Main and Stephenson across from the Citgo gas station in Iron Mountain's Northside.
Donations of new unwrappped toys and monetary donations are being accepted by Toys for Tots. The campaign will continue through Dec. 31, Bilsky added.
Any gifts received after Christmas will be carried over to the 2013 campaign.
Toys for Tots receives names of children who are in need toys from various agencies including the Department of Social Services, Dickinson-Iron District Health Department, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Dickinson County Sheriff Department, local Michigan State Police Post, public safety in both Iron Mountain and Kingsford.
"They support us and let us know who is in need to gifts for Christmas," Bilsky noted. "All donations stay in the local area."
"Our mission is to put a smile on a youngster's face with a new unwrapped toy this Christmas," he said.
Linda Lobeck's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.