CIRCLEVILLE — The 2020 Toys for Tots program, like everything else, will be different than the last several years.
The annual program that provides toys to children of the community in need will be operational this year but with new guidelines for picking up toys and fundraising, although the application process and qualifications will remain the same as in 2019.
What will be different is there will be no in-person chili-cook off this year.
“We discussed it at our board meeting yesterday that we can’t have it in person this year like we’ve had it in the past but we have our creative minds here working on another type of event we could have,” stated BeckyHammond, executive director. “We could maybe have a drive-thru or online type of event.”
Toy distribution will be in December and unlike past years where it’s a shopping experience with people picking out individual toys as part of the items for their child, the items will be bundled together and people will pick a bundle.
“It would be really difficult to sanitize 2,000 to 3,000 toys in between each appointment so we’ve done a sort of hybrid model where we created packages of toys for different age groups and interests and photographed everything,” she added. “The clients will be able to come in and pick somewhat where it’ll be a package instead of individual toys and we’ll go to the shelf and get them for them.”
The system will be set up through a computer portal where parents can view the images.
“If they’re into football, they can search for that and it’ll come up with an image that has a football and other sports stuff,” Hammond commented. “We’ve tried to be creative and hopefully this will be a way they can get things their children like in a no-contact way.”
Signups will begin Sept. 21 and parents or guardians need to stop in the office located at 469 E. Ohio Street between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with documentation on the ages of the child or children and proof of income for the last 30 days. Children 14 years old or younger qualify for the program.
To qualify, families must be at or lower than 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines — that’s $32,750 per family of four.
As part of the new method of fundraising, PICCA held a fundraiser last month called “Summer Magic” in which they auctioned donated Disney items from Hammond’s late cousin.
That event raised about $925 for the program, which will be used to buy items this fall for the program.
“We have 10 items that were Christmas items that didn’t sell so we’ll put those in an auction as we get closer to Christmas,” Hammond said. “We are very pleased with how it went.”