MANATEE -- A miscommunication has put the Marine Toys for Tots in a hectic push to get more toys for the tots in Manatee County.
The organization's coordinator, Mike McClain, said that he was not aware that the U.S. Post Office carriers would not be allowed to pass out the 100,000 fliers he had printed to promote the nonprofit's campaign. The fliers cost the organization $2,000.
"I was not notified that they were not going to distribute the fliers," McClain said.
He said most of their toys come from the post office drop off, but this year's numbers are far less than they've expected.
Last year, he said, the organization collected 36,650 toys. So far this year, McClain says they have around 20,000.
"We usually give three toys per child. This year we won't be able to do it," McClain said.
He hopes that getting the word out in the community will help them fill the deficit of toys.
KaLena Bowers, founder of People 4 the People, Inc., receives toys from the Marine Corps Reserve's efforts. She said for the past three
years, the organization has been giving out toys to needy children, and the Marines have been a major sponsor. Bowers hopes they can help as many needy children as possible this year.
"I think the community didn't get the information as well as they did last year," Bowers said. "He noticed that the toys weren't coming in. He felt bad about it."
They are hoping that people will drop off their donations to any Publix, Walgreens or Toyota car dealership in Manatee County.
"I know the community will come together to donate," Bowers said.
McClain said there are many local businesses where people can drop off new and unwrapped toys, including all Popi's Place restaurants and Slicks Garage in Palmetto.
He said they are especially in need of toys for boys and girls ages 12-16. The last day the Marines Toys for Tots will be collecting items is Dec. 24. McClain said the sooner people can drop off toys the better so they can ensure each child gets a toy this holiday season.
"We're trying to make sure that every child has a little Christmas. We don't want any child to go without anything under the tree," McClain said.
For more information on where to drop off donations, call Mike McClain at 941-812-2987.
Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.