SHERIDAN - Children in Chautauqua County will have a much merrier Christmas thanks to several local veterans clubs. Several area veterans clubs donated toys to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots annual drive.
Eleven area local veterans organizations came together to donate toys for Toys for Tots on Wednesday night. A representative from The Resource Center picked up 15 boxes of toys at the Lake Shore Marine Corps Club on Route 5. Brian Schneider of the Lake Shore Marines has been organizing the toy drive for four years but the Marine Corps Club has been involved for many years. He originally got involved through the Marine Corps League.
"I just fell in love with the program," Schneider said.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Several local veterans groups came together Wednesday night to give donated toys to the Resource Center for the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive. Pictured, from left: Joe Gardner, commander VFW Post 1017; Dan Salerno, Lake Shore Street Rods; Keith Ossman, Lake Shore Street Rods; Dianne Skinner, AMVETS Post 6472; Samuel Restivo, Lake Shore Marines Club; Brian Schneider, Lake Shore Marines Club; James Lisa, president of Silver Creek Overseas Vets Club; Edward Fik, commander of Sam Cimino Post 6472; and Jack Bialaszewski, VFW Post 1017.
All the toys will be distributed in the area once they are sorted in Jamestown. Toys will be sorted by age and gender to be distributed to families who have filled out applications for the program.
"All toys stay locally here in Chautauqua County," Schneider said.
Rehab Supervisor Rebecca Kappel accepted the donations on behalf of The Resource Center in the absence of Michael Volk, who coordinates the event for the Resource Center. The Resource Center has been involved with Toys for Tots for 10 years.
"We're honored to be a part of this," Kappel said. "All the organizations do a great job."
The amount of toys donated this year is more than last year. The Dunkirk VA Clinic donated more than 150 toys, according to Schneider. Kappel was thrilled with the amount of toys donated this year.
"I think they did an awesome job. Brian (Schneider) has been great to work with," she said.
The posts that donated included the John T. Murray VFW Post 1017, Sheridan VFW Post 6390, VFW Post 6390 Ladies Auxiliary, World War II Vets, Lake Shore Marines, Dunkirk VA Clinic, Samuel Cimino VFW Post 6472, Silver Creek AMVETS Post 6472, Silver Creek Overseas Veterans Association and the Lake Shore Street Rods.
Members from the various organizations came Wednesday to give their donated toys to Schneider and the Resource Center. Many in attendance were proud of their donations and to work with the Toys for Tots program.
"It's nice working with the Marine Corps," Ed Fik, commander of the Samuel Cimino VFW Post 6472, said. "We're proud to be a part of it. It's great for the kids."
The toys will be sorted later this week. They will be distributed to families who have been approved during the application process. The Resource Center will take donated toys all year long for Toys for Tots. To donate a toy or for more information on the program, contact the Resource Center.
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