Area nonprofit agencies are asking residents of Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties to get into the holiday spirit by donating a toy to one of the many toy drives throughout the region.
Toy drives are being sponsored by Toys for Tots, the Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County, and Lewis County Opportunities, among other organizations. Toys for children, ages birth to 18, should be taken to respective organizations unwrapped.
Angel Tree projects will occur in both Canton, through the Canton Church and Community Program, and Watertown, through CAPC. Those interested in donating gifts select angel tree tags with a child's gender and age off holiday trees set up in the Canton area at participating locations including St. Lawrence University, SUNY Canton, area churches and banks. In Watertown, the Angel Tree is set up inside the Salmon Run Mall, near Sears.
Donated gifts should be taken by Dec. 12 to the Church & Community Program, 95 Main St., Canton, or to the site where the tag was selected. The gifts will be distributed to parents Dec. 16 and 17 along with holiday food baskets. For more information, contact director Catherine E. Matthews at 386-3534.
At the Angel Tree in Watertown, gifts should be taken to the tree by Dec. 16. For more information on that, as a part of the Christmas Clearinghouse program in Jefferson County, call CAPC at 782-4900.
A similar program is sponsored by Lewis County Opportunities, Lowville. Jolynne R. Brinley, coordinator of the agency's Christmas Sharing program, said Lewis County Opportunities will collect toys for children through Dec. 14. Toys will be given away from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Lowville Elks Club.
To apply for the income-based program, call Ms. Brinley at 376-8202. More than 700 children were served last year.
One of the biggest collections of toys is through the Toys for Tots program. In St. Lawrence County, Toys for Tots aims to bring 24,000 toys to 8,000 needy children, and at least 2,500 children will receive a total 12,500 toys in Jefferson County.
Toys collected in St. Lawrence, Lewis and Jefferson counties stay in their respective counties.
Donated toys can be for boys or girls ages up to 18 years, with donations of toys for infants and 8- to 10-year-olds particularly needed. The toys will be distributed throughout St. Lawrence County with the help of agencies such as the North Country Children's Clinic, the Potsdam Holiday Fund, the Ogdensburg Salvation Army and various food pantries.
Toys for tots will collect toy donations Nov. 19 at the Ogdensburg Family Dollar and Walgreens, Nov. 20 at the Massena Big Lots, Nov. 25 at the Ogdensburg Walmart, Nov. 26 at the Ogdensburg Kinney Drugs, Nov. 27 at the Ogdensburg Rite Aid, Dec. 2 at the Canton Kinney Drugs, Dec. 3 at the Gouverneur Kinney Drugs, Dec. 4 at the Potsdam Kinney Drugs at 200 Market St., Dec. 9 at the Potsdam Kinney Drugs at 48 Maple St., Dec. 10 at the Massena Kinney Drugs, Dec. 11 at the Massena Walgreens, Dec. 16 at the Potsdam Walmart, Dec. 17 at the Massena Walmart and Dec. 18 at the Ogdensburg Walmart.
There also will be toy drop-off boxes in many businesses throughout Ogdensburg, Canton, Potsdam, Gouverneur, Massena, Waddington and Hammond.
In Jefferson County, collection boxes are set up at all Kinney Drugs locations, Walmart in both Watertown and LeRay, Kmart, Dollar General stores and many other stores throughout the county.
* An annual toy drive sponsored by Essenlohr Motors and the Lewis County Marine Corps League is under way. Unwrapped toys for children up to 18 years of age or monetary donations can be dropped off through Dec. 17 at Essenlohr, 7393 Utica Blvd.
* High school students will have a table at the Ogdensburg Walmart to benefit the nonprofit "PJ's for Xmas," beginning at 4 a.m. Nov. 25 to collect pajamas and monetary donations for needy children in St. Lawrence County. Pajamas of any size will be accepted.
* The Bernier, Carr & Associates 17th annual Children's Gift and Fund Drive, co-sponsored by the Paul G. and Kathleen E. Carr Foundation, is set from 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Black River Valley Club, 131 Washington St. To participate, community members are asked to provide two unwrapped gifts, one each for a boy and girl. Monetary donations also are welcome. Toys may also be dropped off at the Bernier, Carr & Associates office, 327 Mullin St.
* The Small Fry Academy preschool hosted a giveaway of some of its new and used toys Tuesday in the Frederic Remington Art Museum's Kid's Place, 303 Washington St., Ogdensburg.
* The Potsdam Holiday Fund Inc. will sponsor about 50 giving trees in St. Lawrence County. The trees will be placed in area banks, restaurants, businesses and churches and will display tags with the age and gender of a child up to 17 years old; people taking tags should buy, wrap and label a gift for the appropriate gender and age group and return it to the tree. The gifts will be distributed Dec. 16 and 17 at the United Methodist Church. The fund can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 261-9887.
Times Staff Writer Gabrielle Hovendon and Johnson Newspapers writer Susan Mende contributed to this report.