CIRCLEVILLE — It’s that time of year, as Pickaway County Community Action has begun their annual Toys for Tots Program.
The annual program provides toys to people in need. This year’s program runs mostly the same as it did in 2020, adults will be able to search a series of pre-packaged bundles for their children, ages 1 to 14 years old, but this year, the setup is a little bit different with new hours and less stringent income requirements.
Now, families who make up to 175 percent of the federal poverty guideline are eligible, which follows the same guidelines as the Home Energy Assistance Program. Income eligibility for the program is for a single person, someone making $22,540 or less, or for a family of four, $46,375.
“We did increase the income guidelines this year to bring in more families and serve more families,” Becky Hammond, PICCA Director, said. “It went from 125 percent of the federal poverty line to 175 percent, which is in line with our other programs.”
To participate in the program, parents or guardians need to stop in the office located at 469 East Ohio Street in Circleville between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, starting now to the final day on Wednesday Dec. 22.
They’ll need documentation of the ages of the child or children and proof of income for the last 30 days.
“They just come to the back of the side building, ring the doorbell and one of our volunteers will be there to help them,” Matthias Rickerd, executive support at PICCA and Toys for Tots Organizer, said.
Rickerd said like last year, they’re letting parents pick up pre-packaged themed gifts using a computer.
“They can search by category or theme and our volunteer will help them out as well,” he said. “It’s pre-packaged, but we do take requests so if we have an item that we can swap out, we’ll do that; they just have to ask.”
Applicants can pick up an application anytime Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. when the main office is open. They can also complete the application and shop the same day so long as it’s one of the days the office is open.
“They can walk in and pick up the applications anytime and they can have them processed Wednesday through Friday,” Rickerd said.
“They’ll take home their toys the same day,” Fallon Kingery, community services director, added.
In total, the Toys for Tots Program costs about $55,000 a year to run and later this month, following the Pumpkin Show, they’ll put out their donation boxes.
“Any kind of toy donations are appreciated, that’s usually half the program income,” she said. “The other half is fundraisers and cash donations we do throughout the year.”
Rickerd said they’re in need of tween/teen items and toddler items, as those are what they’re low on right now.
“We can always use art kids, makeup kits, headsets and action figures are always good,” he said. “We tend to get a lot of car donations, but action figures are good too.”
Another big change to this year is the Chili Cook-Off, returning on Nov. 12. Hammond said they’re still looking for additional vendors for the event as it comes together.
“We always need more chili vendors,” she said. “We had 18 vendors in 2019 and we’ve got six confirmed so far, but sometimes, people do wait until after Pumpkin Show to confirm.”