GLOVERSVILLE -- The third annual Salvation Army of Fulton County's Christmas Toy Drive is still in need of toys — specifically for infants up to 3-years-old and 10 and up.
Ryan Lorey, operator of the Fulton County Area News Facebook page, helps coordinate the toy drive, which includes 50 collection boxes throughout Fulton County and locations in Montgomery County.
"We've started collecting some of the toys already and unfortunately we're finding some shortages in some of the categories, so we're looking for donations for babies-to-3-year-olds, both boys and girls and ages 10 and up both boys and girls," Lorey said.
"Those two categories are very difficult to accommodate, because I think when you think of donating toys at Christmas, I think you think of that middle-age for children. Not everybody thinks about the baby-toys or the 10 and up."
Lorey said the Fulton County toy drive uses the Salvation Army's Angel Tree Program, which provides participating locations with Angel Tree Tags -- paper tags that can be hung on Christmas trees that contain a specific child’s ID number, first name, age, gender, clothing sizes, and Christmas wish items. The tag has all the necessary information a sponsor needs to purchase the gifts for his/her assigned child.
According to Salvation Army Angel Tree literature, to qualifty for an Angel Tree Tag for one of their children, families must present several documents, such as proof of income and monthly bills showing the family and child meet these criteria:
• The family’s expenses exceed income.
• The family breaks even each month, so they
do not have the means to purchase gifts.
• The family is experiencing a crisis situation.
Lorey explained people can obtain tags at the customer service area of a participating store where they are shopping. After selecting a toy, it can be dropped off in a collection box at the customer service area. "The other way you can donate is simply buy any toy, pick something out, and put it into the box or take it into one of our locations," Lorey said.
Lorey said there are about 300 children with Angel Tree Tags being served in this year's toy drive.
People who are interested in donating, or know of a child who would likely qualify for an Angel Tree Tag, can call 518-725-4119.
"As long as you qualify, they'll help you out. It may not seem like a lot of assistance, but if you can give families toys for Christmas that will free up money they need for other things," he said.
Tuesday night, 12-year-old Bella Romano, who Lorey said has been an active volunteer for the toy drive, was honored with a proclamation from the Gloversville Common Council and Mayor Vince DeSantis. Romano served as the grand marshal during the Gloversville Christmas parade due to her efforts with the toy drive. DeSantis said a toy collection box has been set up at City Hall and they will present the results of the collection to Romano on Dec. 19.
"And I promise you at that meeting, all of the council members and the department heads will say, 'We wish you a merry Christmas,'" DeSantis said.
Lorey said distribution of the toys usually occurs on Dec. 20, which makes Dec. 18 and Dec. 19 big days for last-minute giving.