Special Reports

Letter carriers’ annual toy drive is Saturday

MANATEE — U.S. Postal Service mail carriers will be hauling a larger-than-usual load Saturday.

It’s the annual Letter Carrier Toy Drive.

Residents can leave new, unwrapped toys hanging on their mail boxes or drop them off at their neighborhood post office branch, said Steven Cruz, acting manager of Bradenton’s main office.

The drive is being conducted in partnership with the Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign.

All postal locations will be open from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, except the Braden River branch, which will be open until 2 p.m., Cruz said.

“The Marines have called it Make or Break Saturday when every mailbox becomes a toy collection station,” said Post Office in an e-mail. “Letter carriers hope to collect over 200,000 toys in one day. They collect over half of the total collected for Toys for Tots locally in one day.”

Greg Witham, of the Marine Corps League and Manatee County Toys for Tots coordinator, said requests for toys started coming in earlier this year than normal, a reflection of the tough economic times.

“The need is becoming overwhelming,” Witham said, adding that volunteers have expressed concern about meeting the demand.

For more information, call Cruz at 747-0867.