Annual Toys for Tots drive launched

A 20-year tradition of collecting toys for needy kids continues

By Kristen O’Reilly

UMass Medical School Communications

November 26, 2013

toys-for-tots-logoChristmas is already on the minds of Kevin McFarland and Miguel Centeno of Auxiliary Services (Parking/Access Control), as they prepare to organize UMass Medical School’s annual Toys for Tots campaign for the U.S. Marines. Collection boxes will be out in several visible areas on the University and South Street campuses from Tuesday, Nov. 26, through Wednesday, Dec. 18. 

The Department of Public Safety has sponsored the popular drive for the past 20 years, formerly under the direction of recently retired Officer John Martella. Collectively, contributions from the UMMS and UMass Memorial communities represent the largest donation to the Worcester collection site, a huge warehouse that usually overflows with toys as the holiday approaches.

“When we make our deliveries, it feels good bringing all the toys to the giant warehouse. They are always so appreciative,” said McFarland. He notes that they must make several trips throughout the collection period in order tote the 25 to 30 giant bags filled with toys.

“These toys are going to needy kids, whose families are spending what they have on food and rent,” said Centeno. “A good feeling comes over you when you see all the toys being donated.”

While toys for younger children are always appreciated, the Toys for Tots organization has sent out a special request for toys for older kids, preteens to teens, including board games and sports equipment, such as footballs and basketballs. They will not distribute realistic-looking toy weapons and gifts that contain food. All toys should be new and unwrapped. To donate money, visit the Toys for Tots website.

Bins will be set up in the lobbies of the Medical School building, the Lazare Research Building, the Sherman Center, the Remillard Pavilion and Biotech 2, and outside the Public Safety Office. A bin at South Street will be overseen by Heather Saad from Human Resources.

For more information, contact Public Safety at 508-856-3296.