What could be better than Marines and toys for kids in the Portland area this time of year? Well aside from a miracle visit to PDX from Santa himself, we couldn’t think of anything. That said, we have decided to join forces with the Portland Marines and their Toys for Tots effort as a local toy collection location.
Simple Floors Portland made a commitment to giving this year. This commitment started with our team deciding to focus on giving new flooring to two local Portland veterans, (read these stories here and here) and also support a Portland kids clothing drive to help needy kids in our area.
Based on our original focus to help veterans, we thought that it might be nice to continue our military recognition by adding to our season of giving with support for the local Marines and their Portland area Toys for Tots program. In that spirit of giving we’d like to ask you to join us in this great cause.
Would you be willing help by giving a toy for a Portland child in need?
Portland Metro Toys for Tots
After becoming an official Portland area Toys for Tots donation center, we reached out to the local Marine coordinator for our area to get some deeper insight into the Portland charity beyond what is on the website. The current coordinator is Sergeant Nguyen, Harley Davidson. We asked if we could call him Harley and he agreed. 🙂
Question: How long have you been the Portland Metro Toys for Tots coordinator Harley?
Harley: This is my first year heading up the Portland area program. I have assisted in previous year, but I was asked to be the coordinator for this year because I showed an interest in helping and giving back to our community and was considered to be very organized. That is something you have to be to make this work. But fortunately, I am currently assisted by last years coordinator, so that is a really big help!
Question: What area covers the Portland metro Toys for Tots program that you coordinate?
Harley: Our Portland Metro area mission covers cities from Vancouver Washington up North, then out West from Banks through Forest Grove and all the way down South to Woodburn. Our area extends out Northeast to Estacada, Sandy, and up to Troutdale and even Corbett. It’s really quite a huge area.
Question: How does the Toys for Tots process work here in Portland?
Harley: We partner exclusively partner with area non-profits, churches and government agencies. Those partners provide us with their toy requests and we fulfill those requests as best we can using the donated toys we receive. Most of the toys are donated at approved donation centers like your showroom, by individuals in our community who just want to give back and make a difference for a child in the Portland area.
Question: Can you tell us what are the most needed toys right now Harley?
Harley: Right now, toys for girls ages 8-10 and up are most requested by our partner local non-profit organizations. They have a lot of needy families with girls in that age group that need toys right now. We tend to get more boy toys and we sometimes hear that it is because some people find it easier to shop for boys, but there is a big need for girls toys at the moment and we would appreciate any assistance the community could provide in helping us meet this need.
Also we have a big need for toys specifically in the 0-2 age range for both boys and girls. Currently the 0-2 age range doesn’t get as much attention because we find it can be more difficult to buy for. Maybe it isn’t just as fun since it requires to be focused on safety and age appropriate, but we definitely need help from the community for this age need also.
Question: What is something people really need to be aware of?
Harley: Well, about 99% of the calls I handle right now are from individual parents who call and want to add their children to our list. This is challenging because we are not set up to work with individual families or kids, it would just be too much to handle. People need to know that we work solely with non-profits, churches and government organizations that work with individual families and children directly. The most frequent parents we hear from are folks that are on food stamps or assistance. They just need to know that they can simply connect with their local food stamp or assistance office or church to be enrolled in their toy program there.
Question: Anything else Harley?
Harley: I would just say that last year there were roughly 26,000 toys that were distributed through our local Portland metro area Toys for Tots program and we are expecting to be about the same or a little more this year. We are honored to serve our community and we take pride in doing it.
Give A Toy To PDX Kids This Christmas
What: To help a needy Portland child just purchase any new packed toy you think a child in the Portland area would love for Christmas. Be sure to only donate new packaged toys that are unwrapped!
**Remember that toys for girls ages 8+ and kids 0-2 are the most needed right now!
Where: Just stop by our local Portland flooring showroom at 3477 NW Yeon Ave Portland, OR 97210 or any number of other Portland area donation sites.