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Toys for Tots: ‘Tis the season of giving at UALR

Submitted by Kezia Nanda on December 3, 2013 – 12:13 pmNo Comment

Photo by Kezia Nanda

With as little as $1, college students can make a difference in a local, less fortunate child’s life, said Non-Traditional Student Program Coordinator Cynda Alexander. This is the second year that UALR has been appointed to be a drop-off location for Toys for Tots.

The program, which was started by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve over 60 years ago, collects new toys and distributes them to children of financially challenged families in the community surrounding the particular drop-site.

Alexander, who coordinates the Toys for Tots drop-off at UALR, said some of these recipients are UALR non-traditional students, many of whom are single parents and of low income striving to get their education.

Alexander said the toys need to be new and unwrapped to ensure safety and so the parents can choose the most suitable present for each child. “That way the children never know, whether they believe in Santa Clause or not, they don’t know that mother did not provide these for me,” Alexander said.

According to Alexander, gifts as inexpensive as a box of crayons, a coloring book, and a story book, which cost about $1, can have a huge psychological impact on the kids who are accustomed to receiving hand-me-downs. She said when they go back to school in January and hear other kids bragging on Christmas presents, they will not feel left out. Alexander said that she hopes the recipients will feel that someone cares about them.

She said these children are usually given photocopy pages and rarely own a new coloring book.  “Picture that little kid on Christmas morning, opening that up and going ‘Aaahh! It’s brand new! It’s all mine! I get to color every pages!’”

The Toys for Tots drop boxes are located in front of the Office of Campus Life, the UALR Bookstore, the Diamond Cafe, and Starbucks. Drop boxes can also be found  in the main lobby of the second floor of the Student Services Center and in the foyer near the cashier’s office in the SSC. Donations will be accepted until Dec. 16.

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