The gift-giving season: Toys for Tots launches Saturday
If you go
Who: Toys for Tots, Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation, UW Athletics, Steam Locomotive Heritage Association and Wisconsin & Southern Railroad.
What: 2012 Toys for Tots Holiday Campaign "On the Rails" aboard a SOO 1003 Steam engine, baggage car and refurbished Milwaukee Road Caboose.
When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3.
Where: Rock County stops at the Milton depot, 700-798 Greenman St., Milton, from 10 a.m.-10:20 a.m.; and the Edgerton depot, 99 S. Henry St., Edgerton, from 10:40 to 11 a.m. The train proceeds to four more stops in Dane County.
Featured: Children of all ages will have the opportunity to meet Santa Claus on board a historic Milwaukee Road caboose. Accompanying Santa will be special guests, including coaches and players from the UW-Madison football team. Those attending are asked to bring new, unwrapped toys to donate.
To get a Toys for Tots collection barrel delivered and picked up, call the Salvation Army in Janesville at 608-757-8300.
Any qualifying agency in Rock or Green counties in need of toys for low-income families should also call the local Salvation Army.
JANESVILLE Most people have been fortunate enough to wake up Christmas morning and find something under the Christmas tree.
Toys for Tots and the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation provides a way for communities to support local families going through challenging times, Kelli Cameron said.
"It's a simple way to bring a little bit of joy into a child's life. It doesn't take a lot of time or money, and you can really make someone's holiday," she said.
Kelli and her sister Julie Musgrove of Janesville plus their mother, Pat Cameron, of Milton agreed to lead this year's Toys for Tots campaign in Rock and Green counties because they are passionate about helping others—especially children.
Maj. Ruth Fay of the Salvation Army in Janesville is coordinating the holiday campaign.
"It's a worthwhile project, and because it is sponsored by the Marines, it's something close to our hearts. We also decided to honor the memory of my late husband, who was a Marine and served in Vietnam," Pat said.
Steve Cameron died in April 2009.
"The opportunity to help children was something he always did," she said.
To participate, families can attend Saturday's 2012 Toys for Tots Holiday Campaign on Rails or ask for collection barrels to be placed at churches, schools or workplaces through Saturday, Dec. 15, to accept new and unwrapped toys.
"It's a great lesson for families to teach their children about giving to the less fortunate who might not get gifts during the holiday," Julie said.
"All the toys collected stay in Rock and Green counties to help these families," Pat said.
Maj. Ruth expects need to be greater than last year, when 462 children received toys through the toyshop.
"We tried to have each child receive two toys—one large and one small—along with a stuffed animal or stocking stuffer," she said.
"Our social services numbers have been consistent with people where it's getting harder to make ends meet. So I would assume those who have been receiving assistance in the past will come, and those who have found their homes to be in foreclosure and reduced income with different jobs or going back to school, that the need would be greater," Maj. Ruth said.
Pat said the campaign is "an opportunity to have a little fun and get into the Christmas spirit."
Kelli agreed: "This time of year, it's less about us and more about others, and this is a program that can help fulfill that."