NORWICH – Every year since its founding in 1947 by Marine reservist Major William L. Hendricks, Toys for Tots has striven against all odds to make sure as many children as possible avoid suffering a joyless Christmas. The thought of children awaking to barren Christmas trees within sight of homes where more fortunate tykes are fervently ripping through wrapping paper with feverish fingers, may bring sorrow to some, but there are those who are willing make the small efforts it takes to ebb a poor child’s heartache.
“The toys are more than just things,” said Chenango County Toys for Tots coordinator Roger Barnhart. “No, the toys really are just tools, symbols, for parents to show their children they care about them, and for children to know deep down that they are loved.”
Chenango County Toys for Tots benefits from having a number of different sponsors, including Roots & Wings, The Label Gallery in Norwich, the Marine Corps, as well as regular volunteering from the Opportunities for Chenango staff, the “Beautify Chenango County” program, and from the community in general.
Earlier this week, Roots & Wings Administrator Melinda Mandeville and her posse of volunteers, armed only with dangerously kind hearts, assembled at Toys for Tots’ new location in the old Rite Aid building, to start setting up for the holiday season.