Annual Toys for Tots campaign chugging along in Denton County

So far, the Toys for Tots campaign in Denton County is on par with last year’s efforts, and organizers said they hope this year’s toy drive can be one of their best yet.On Monday, an estimated $9,000 worth of toys were dropped off at First Baptist Church of Denton for the church’s Elves Shelves program, and that’s just the beginning, say organizers with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.“Our big drive will be this weekend at Golden Triangle Mall,” said Capt. Norma Cabanas of the 407th Army Field Support Brigade out of Fort Hood. “We will have live entertainment through the mall all throughout the weekend.”The three-day drive at the mall will be from noon to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.Cabanas, a Denton County resident, has helped with the drive for two years. She said Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 920, the Denton County Veterans Coalition, the Texas Army National Guard’s 949th Brigade Support and Forward Support Battalions, ROTC cadets from the University of North Texas and Junior ROTC members from Denton High School have all signed on to assist.The Toys for Tots Foundation gives toys to children only through a charity or nonprofit organization, and all organizations are screened before becoming a recipient, organizers said.“Despite all the volunteers that have already signed up, we still need help,” Cabanas said Tuesday afternoon. “Anyone who would like to help can stop by the food court at the mall and sign in.”And if you prefer to be more behind-the-scenes with your holiday cheer, Cabanas said people willing to sort toys this weekend can stop by Denton Health & Fitness, 1727 W. University Drive, between noon to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday.Toy donations for girls and boys are needed, and all donations made in Denton County will stay in Denton County, she said.Donated toys must be new, unwrapped and in their original packaging. Toy guns and weapons cannot be accepted.If you can’t make it to the mall for the toy drive, there are other upcoming events where families can enjoy some holiday fun while doing good:SaturdayThe North Texas Corvette Club’s third annual Toys for Tots car show, in the parking lot of Wal-Mart and Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, 3040 Justin Road in Highland Village, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.Lake Cities Misfits Car and Truck Club event at MAACO, 2115 Sadau Court, noon to 3 p.m.Keep Argyle Beautiful, 308 E. Denton St., 4 to 6:30 p.m.Dec. 12-13Wal-Mart Pharmacy, 2570 W. University Drive in Denton, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Donate a toy and get a discounted flu shot.Saturday, Dec. 13Core Chiropractic and Rehab, 3400 Long Prairie Road in Flower Mound, 10 a.m. to noon.Beth Marie’s Old-Fashioned Ice Cream and Soda Fountain, 2900 Wind River Lane, 3 to 7 p.m.To volunteer, sponsor a toy collection site or find out more about the toy drive, visit www.facebook.com/ToysforTotsDenton, email William Sullivan at billdhf@verizon.net, or call 940-381-0894.Cash donations can be made online at http://aubrey-tx.toysfortots.org.The Toys for Tots program, now in its 67th year, has collected and delivered more than 20 million toys to nearly 8 million children nationwide, according to a news release.“We hope to have another successful campaign this year and thank everyone for all their help,” Cabanas said.MEGAN GRAY-HATFIELD can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.

Annual Toys for Tots campaign chugging along in Denton County