Santa seeks a few more holiday helpers |

Santa seeks a few more holiday helpers

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunTalya Dodson and Sandy Watters of Keller Williams and Boice Realty hold donated toys outside their office in Tahoe Donner Wednesday. Dodson is spearheading a Toys for Tots drive at the real estate office and will donate the toys locally.

With the season of good cheer arriving on schedule, local toy drives aim to turn Tahoe-Truckee residents into holiday elves.

Businesses and agencies throughout the Tahoe region are spearheading a local toy-collecting and distribution effort in partnership with the nationwide Toys for Tots program.

The toys will be distributed to children in the area just in time for Christmas.

“Our community is rich in giving wherever there’s a need,” said Elaine Durazo, a Realtor who is coordinating Toys for Tots at local Prudential California Realty offices. “That’s one of the wonderful things about living in a small community.”

Last year, Toys for Tots drives collected Christmas presents for 500 children, said Officer Kristin Mann of Placer County’s community services department. Referred to the program through various agencies, the children come from struggling families who may be too financially stretched to purchase gifts.

“I remember one year, one father was jumping from hotel to hotel with his son,” Mann said. “He said, ‘you know, I can’t afford to even get toys for my son.’ We help those kinds of families.”

Mann will collect toys the weekend before Christmas and distribute them with assistance from the North Tahoe Family Resource Center and Kings Beach Elementary. A similar local partnership and distribution in Truckee will bring toys to children, said Talya Dodson, who is coordinating the toy drive for Keller Williams Boice Realty in Tahoe Donner.

“It’s the local community trying to give back, and we would like to see them give back to our community,” Dodson said. “We would just like to make sure that the people in the Town of Truckee are taken care of.”

Toys for Tots is looking for new, unwrapped presents for newborns to 12-year-olds.

“I had one boy, all he wanted was a globe for Christmas,” Mann said. “And I remember telling someone in passing, and on the desk the next day was a globe. I was just so excited that this little boy is going to get what he wanted.”

Toys for Tots was initiated by the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1947. It has since given more than 370 million toys to more than 173 million children, according to the program’s Web site.

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