Cedar Rapids Christmas toy drive begins - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids Christmas toy drive begins

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) --The Cedar Rapids Jaycees, The Salvation Army, and Toys for Tots are once again collecting toys for children in need this Christmas season.

The organizations are collecting new, unwrapped toys at many collection sites across the community including the Cedar Rapids and Marion Wal-Mart stores.

A complete list of drop box locations can be found at crtoyshop.org. The site also includes toy ideas for children of all ages.

Monetary donations will also be accepted payable to the Toys for Tots Foundation c/o The Salvation Army, 1000 C Avenue NW, Cedar Rapids. Toy collection runs November 10 - December 12.

The Toys for Tots program has been active in the Cedar Rapids community since 1949 and has grown in size each year. Locally, The Salvation Army, the Cedar Rapids Jaycees and Toys for Tots partner to provide The Christmas Toy Shop. Last year staff and volunteers collected and distributed over 12,000 toys to needy children throughout Linn County.

Organizers expect this year's program to be even more meaningful for the families involved given the flood and current economic conditions.  "Finances are tighter for so many this year, those that were directly impacted by the flood and others struggling as a result of economic downturn," said Kayser.  "Because of this, we are planning for increased need.  We know there are families in our community that have lost absolutely everything.  This reality will be magnified for many of them during the holiday season.  We are here to help."

Registration is required for both toy shop and the holiday food box program. Applications will be available at The Salvation Army through November 25. No appointment is necessary. Staff and volunteers will be accepting applications Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 4 p.m.  Evening hours will also be available from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, November 19. All households that meet the income guidelines of 185% of the poverty level are eligible to apply for food boxes.  Those households with children ages birth to seventeen also qualify for the toy distribution.

Applicants must bring the following to apply:  Iowa issued picture identification card, social security cards for each member of the family and proof of income.  Acceptable documents to verify income include:  Social Security statement or letter from the Social Security Administration stating income, 2007 income taxes, pay stubs from the last 30 days, food stamp EBT card, LIHEAP approval letter and/or WIC packet.  Flood victims that do not meet program parameters for income are encouraged to contact The Army or a case advocate with the Linn Area Long Term Recovery Coalition (dial 211) to discuss their situation and needs. For more information, contact The Salvation Army at 319-364-9131.

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