SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - Christmas for some Clark County children in need will be filled with a bit more cheer thanks in part to the efforts of the Wittenberg Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Campaign. For the third year in a row, a group of students from Wittenberg have raised money and collected new toys from area residents to donate to the Marine Corps League Springfield Detachment 963 chapter of the national campaign.
This year, the Student Athlete Committee asked the attendees of the last home football game between Wittenberg and Kenyon College to bring either a monetary donation or a new toy to give to area children this holiday season. This week, Wittenberg was proud to present a check for more than $200 and just under 50 new toys to members of the local U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
"It feels really good to be able to do something nice for the kids, and we want to thank the people who came to the game with toys and money in hand for our cause," said senior Josh Curtis, of Dublin, Ohio, committee leader for the Toys for Tots project of the Wittenberg Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Curtis, who plays soccer, said that the committee is comprised of two athletes from each of Wittenberg's sports teams. This was the first year the group has taken on a service project, but it did so well that the group hopes to continue with others in the spring.
As he accepted the donation, Alvyn Haley, a retired Marine and coordinator of the Toys for Tots efforts of the Springfield league said, "These students have done a terrific job for our project so that we can give every deserving child a little bit of Christmas." Haley is the parent of a Wittenberg student, Valerie, a senior biology major. His other daughter, Tiffany, attends North High School, and was a Wittenberg Scholar last summer. He said he met his wife, Paula Sortman, when she was a freshman at Wittenberg, so he's happy to have the support of the Tigers for this meaningful project. "I'm a big fan of Wittenberg and its sports program, so this makes the partnership very special for me."
Last year, the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation supplemented local collections with 7.3 million toys valued at more than $40 million. This year, the situation is much different. As of last week, the foundation was experiencing its most difficult fund-raising and toy gathering challenge since 1994, raising just 75 percent of its 2002 revenue goal and only 60 percent of its corporate toy donation goal.
Entering the last 12 days of the drive, the local community can still help. There will be a fund-raiser at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Springfield Moose #536 Family Center featuring the musical fun of The Del Satins. For tickets and more information, contact Haley at (937) 390-1210. This is the 55th annual campaign for the national Toys for Tots Foundation and the sixth year the Springfield league has participated.
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