December 6, 2012

Yuma Marines’ Toys for Tots

By Lance Cpl. Uriel Avendano

Christmas is a time that brings out the best in communities. At Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, through organizations like the Marines Toys for Tots Foundation, people come together to help improve the quality of life for the less fortunate children of Yuma and the nation at large.

“It’s an organization sponsored by the Marine Corps for the poor and needy children of Yuma,” said Gunnery Sgt. Merwin McIntyre, the Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 operations chief, Toys for Tots coordinator and a native of Aliquippa, Penn. “In Yuma, at least 50 Marines are volunteers helping with the program right now.”

Having been involved with the Toys for Tots campaign since 1947, the Corps takes pride in the help they can provide their local communities.

“Right now, it’s December 2 and I already have around 12,000 requests,” said McIntyre. “By the end, I’d estimate around 14,000 requests will come in.”

Fundraising events like one recently held at the Yuma Palms can raise thousands of dollars and boxes worth of toys. An all-star football game held at Yuma High School recently netted Toys for Tots over 250 toys for this upcoming Christmas.

“There was a karaoke event that raised over 1,000 dollars,” added McIntyre. “And we have a golf tournament coming up.”

Marines have different personal reason for wanting to help out, the common denominator being the children of Yuma.

“I like putting smiles on kids’ faces and helping out our community,” said McIntyre. “It helps out the less fortunate people of the city by letting them know the Marine Corps in Yuma really cares.”

Toys for Tots is supported by and run with the local populace. Toy donations are open and welcome for all age groups. The toy drives are also open to monetary donations that are spent on buying more toys for the kids.

The on-base Marine Corps Exchange serves as a drop-off point for Toys for Tots. For further information on where to donate and/or how to volunteer, please contact McIntyre at (928) 210-7476 or at merwin.mcintyre@usmc.mil.

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