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31.10.2013
For many years, the men and women of Marine Corps Military Police Company Bravo, based in North Versailles, have not only served their country but have done yeoman service to underprivileged children during the holidays.
The local Toys for Tots program distributes gifts to more than 30,000 kids, ensuring a joyous Christmas for children who might otherwise go without. But the Marines couldn't do it by themselves -- their stewardship of the program is aided by hundreds of volunteers who deliver and sort toys at the donated warehouse space for the program, at Guardian Storage Solutions in the Strip District. The nonprofit organization Pittsburgh Cares puts it all together, and it came together in a big way on Friday, as about 70 volunteers greeted a massive shipment of toys collected in Stuff-a-Bus, a promotion sponsored by radio station 96.1 KISS-FM.
On Thursday and Friday, participants in the annual corporate volunteer days -- hailing from Sentric Inc., Pepsi, Towers Watson, Levin Furniture and Lunova -- sorted toys by gender and age group. The toys will be picked up and distributed by nearly 150 charitable organizations, many of which also depend on volunteers. Getting involved in this worthy effort requires nothing more than a few minutes of your time, to write a check or make an online donation to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Goodfellows Fund. Since 1947, Goodfellows has sought to ensure that no child faces a Christmas morning without gifts under the tree.
A tradition of Goodfellows is that every donor is acknowledged in the pages of the Post-Gazette.
How to get toysThe Toys for Tots program will hold open houses this month to distribute toys to parents and guardians of needy children.
Several local charitable organizations have said the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program failed them this year by not processing their requests for toys for underprivileged children.
But the local Toys for Tots coordinator issued a statement Friday saying the agencies had not properly submitted their requests. Among them is Nabhi Christian Ministries, based in Pittsburgh’s Lincoln-Lemington neighborhood, a longtime participant in the program.
Jacque Fielder, the founder and executive director, said the group submitted toy orders for 667 children and said she received several assurances that the orders would be filled, but as of Friday afternoon had not been notified to pick up its order.


The organization had hoped to distribute toys to about 300 children who are expected to attend a Christmas party tonight, she said. However, after inquiries by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, it was determined that the order had been partly assembled for pickup and by nightfall on Friday, Nabhi was able to pick up the toys. Several other organizations also came forward this week to say their toy orders had not been filled, including Sisters Helping Sisters and The Pittsburgh Project. The program also holds two open houses at which parents or guardians can obtain toys for their children. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s annual holiday campaign, the Goodfellows Fund, has provided funding to the Toys for Tots program since 1999. Last week in the Strip District, volunteers greeted a tractor-trailer-sized shipment of toys, chipped away at the massive piles inside and carted them away in boxes to be organized. More than 30,000 children throughout Pittsburgh and in parts of Allegheny County will receive the gifts as part of the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. Men and women of the Marine Corps Military Police Company Bravo, based in North Versailles, distribute the gifts to local children in need during the holidays. The radio station encouraged citizens and business to donate toys at a bus parked at Monroeville Mall. More than 50 people, Marine reservists and employees of the radio station, Scarehouse, Shadyside investment consultants Greycourt and more volunteered at the warehouse. A bonus: Scarehouse and Greycourt executives said the effort was also a good team-building activity for their employees. Since 1947, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Goodfellows Fund has sought to ensure that no child faces a Christmas morning without gifts under the tree. The Toys for Tots program will hold open houses this week to distribute toys to parents and guardians of needy children. Parents and guardians are required to bring photo ID for themselves, a birth certificate for each child (children up to age 12 are eligible) and proof of need: an EBT card, ACCESS card or SNAP card.


The Toys for Tots program also has scheduled two days this month when parents or guardians can pick up toys at the Strip District warehouse. Since 1999, Goodfellows has teamed with the local Toys for Tots program to deliver Christmas cheer to underprivileged children. The Marines require each organization to submit a tax identification number showing that they are a registered nonprofit along with the names and addresses of each child that will receive toys, by mid-November.
Brashear said he told the agencies that had complained of unfilled orders that he would try to fill them but suggested that they send parents to the open house. In order for us to continue to fill all agency requests that met the deadline and have our open house, requests that came in after the deadline may not be met on their timeline or at all,“ he wrote in the statement. Simmons is among the hundreds of volunteers who have delivered and sorted toys at the donated space for the program, a warehouse at Guardian Storage Solutions in the Strip District. The Toys for Tots program also has scheduled two days -- Friday and Saturday -- when parents or guardians can pick up toys at the Strip District warehouse.
We will work to fill orders until the 23rd of December or until donations run out,“ he said.
Parents and guardians should bring a photo ID for themselves, a birth certificate for each child (children up to age 12 are eligible) and proof of need -- welfare check stub, food stamp card or other proof of government assistance.
The Marines require each parent and guardian to show a photo ID, a birth certificate for each child and proof of need -- an EBT, Access or SNAP card.



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