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Oxford Toys for Tots campaign set to begin in October

The calendar turned to October on Tuesday, and with that comes the beginning of the annual Toys for Tots drive.

The national campaign began on Tuesday, and Oxford’s Toys for Tots chapter is now taking applications for toy collection boxes.

Oxford Toys for Tots donates toys to needy children up to 16 years old in five counties, including Lafayette, Panola, Pontotoc, Union and Yalobusha. Toys donated in each county will be distributed to children within their respective county.

According to Gene Hays, one of the coordinators for Oxford Toys for Tots, the most needed toys are for newborn to two-year-olds and teenagers ages 14 to 16. Bicycles, books and stocking stuffers are also needed. The toys must be new and unwrapped, and Toys for Tots asks that batteries be included with any donated toy that needs them.

Toys for Tots is a national organization run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve each holiday season with the help of local volunteers who organize toy and donation drives.

Any local business that would like to apply to receive a collection box must apply online at http://oxford-ms.toysfortots.org.

Families who would like to apply to have their child receive a toy from Toys for Tots can also visit the same website and click on the “Request a Toy” header at the top of the website. To be eligible to receive a toy, applicants must receive some form of government assistance such as SNAP, WIC, CHIP, Supplemental Security Income, EITC, Medicaid or Housing Assistance. A copy of the applicant’s latest DHS award letter must also be provided, if requested.

To request an application to be filled out and mailed instead of applying online, applicants can email oxford.toysfortots@yahoo.com. The deadline to apply is Dec. 1.

Last year, the Oxford Toys for Tots chapter delivered toys to over 1,400 children, including foster children.