KONY Coins for Kids, USMC Toys for Tots are in full swing; join the effort

Southern Utah Toys for Tots works with Kony Coins for Kids to provide underprivileged children with toys and other needs to have a Merry Christmas, date and location unspecified|Photo courtesy of Rick Massey, for St. George News

ST. GEORGE —  KONY 99.9 FM radio and the Marine Corps League of Southern Utah launch their Coins for Kids and Toys for Tots fundraising and toy drives this week that will culminate in bringing Christmas to Washington County families in need. The two nonprofit organizations work together, collecting donations, enlisting volunteers, and inviting the community to make referrals of families in need in Washington County that might benefit from the program.

Whether it’s pulling a team together to see how fast you can eat Blazing Hot Wings on Wednesday, joining Zion Harley Davidson for a motorcycle poker ride on Saturday, running a mile, a 5K or a 10K in December, donating some of your own coins or volunteering your time, there are many ways to be a part of this Washington County tradition that warms the Christmas spirit and touches lives in a very merry and beneficial way.

KONY Coins for Kids is a nonprofit organization that began in Washington County 25 years ago, its co-chairman Brian Musso said. In addition to the fundraising and toy drive, KONY Coins for Kids vets applicants and referrals to select families that will benefit from the Coins for Kids and Toys for Tots programs as well as for Washington County’s Shop With A Cop program and The Angel Tree program.

Toys for Tots is the Marine Corps’ nationwide organization that started in 1927. It did not have a chapter in Southern Utah until retired Marine Gy. Sgt. Rick Massey, who had been on recruit duty in Washington County during his service, was appointed to coordinate the program in Washington County. Before Massey became the Toys for Tots foundation coordinator in Southern Utah, all donations collected in the area were sent to northern Utah. The number of toys collected grew from hundreds to thousands after Massey began coordinating the effort.

“We work hand-in-hand,” Musso said. “Toys for Tots does a good job collecting toys, but doesn’t really have a distribution system. So, (Coins for Kids helps) distribute the toys that they collect. By working with Toys for Tots, it makes our donations go farther as we use our money on coats, clothes, and shoes for the families.”

In 2013, KONY’s radio personality Carl Lamar told St. George News that volunteers raised nearly $95,000, providing Christmas for over 1,600 kids in Washington County. People can make monetary donations for the 2014 Christmas on the Coins for Kids website.

About 110 businesses throughout the community regularly support the Toys for Tots program by putting a box out at their businesses to collect toys, Massey said. People are encouraged to go the stores, buy toys and fill those boxes.  Or, people can make monetary donations on the Toys for Tots website.

“There are two sides to what we do,” Massey said. “One, we identify those children that need help, and two, we collect toys to provide for those. We collect the toys, but also we’re collecting names of families out there who need help.”

Refer a family in need, request a toy

If someone knows of a family in need they can go to the Toys for Tots website, click request a toy to complete the form.  Families are then called to find out what their needs are.

“Wherever we find a need for the children we will help,” Massey said, “because what it comes down to is you can’t fault the kids. You cannot fault the children for what the parents are or are not doing, because the bottom line is, the Toys for Tots motto is ‘Every child deserves a Christmas’ and that’s what we’re about.”

Volunteer

Toys for Tots and Coins for Kids is an all-volunteer effort. Anyone interested in volunteering with Toys for Tots can sign up through the Toys for Tots St. George volunteer Web page linked here or with the KONY Coins for Kids volunteer Web page linked here. Anyone interested in volunteering with Coins for Kids can apply at the Washington County School District, Woodward Building, located at 75 W. Tabernacle St. in St. George.

What I want people to know is this community is very giving,” Massey said. “They are a very generous community. We could not do what we do without their support because we are driven by what the community does for us, and we can’t just go out and buy all this stuff or buy toys without the community’s support”

Law enforcement, Coins for Kids and other volunteers deliver the toys to the needy families each year.

“I feel very blessed to be out there and help support the community by doing what we do. It’s not only about pulling toys, collecting toys, getting out there and doing the public relations with the community, but bringing people together to help provide to the community,” Massey said. “It’s just a really neat feeling, I enjoy doing it and the bottom line is taking care of the kids.”

It’s all about the kids, Massey said. Toys for Tots takes donations until Dec. 23 to make sure there are no last minute families struggling to provide a Christmas for their kids.

Participate

Nov. 18

  • What: Buffalo Wild Wings Toys for Tots Fundraiser.  Buffalo Wild Wings will donate 10 percent of all sales to Southern Utah Toys for Tots.
  • When: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Where: Buffalo Wild Wings, 221 S. River Road, St. George

Nov. 19

  • What: Buffalo Wild Wings Toys for Tots Fundraiser. All emergency medical service agencies, fire departments, law enforcement agencies and military units are challenged to a “Blazing Hot Wings” contest. The teams consist of three people each and the entry fee is $20. Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant will donate 10 percent of all sales to the Southern Utah Toys for Tots program. Every 30 minutes there will be four new teams competing for the fastest average team time. To sign up your team, call Stor-n-Lock at 435-635-9696 and provide them your agency’s team name and what time slot is best for your team to participate. Winners will be announced on the event Facebook page. Plaques and prizes will be awarded the next day. There will be a plaque displayed at Buffalo Wild Wings naming the winning team for bragging rights.
  • When: 5-11 p.m.
  • Where: Buffalo Wild Wings, 221 S. River Road, St. George

 Nov. 22

  • What: Zion Harley Davidson Dealership Toys for Tots Fundraiser. Riders are invited to join in a motorcycle poker ride for an entry fee of $10 plus a toy valued at $15 or more, or $25. Willies USMC truck and Santa Claus will be present at the start and finish to collect toys, and the Marine Corps League #1270 will provide a color guard with colors being posted at noon, followed by the singing of the national anthem and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and a barbecue.
  • When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Where: Department of Veteran Affairs, 1664 South Dixie Drive, #C-102, St. George

Nov. 25-26

  • What: Chili’s Toys for Tots Fundraiser. Chili’s will donate 10 percent of all sales to the Southern Utah Toys for Tots program.
  • When: Nov. 25 at 11 a.m to Nov. 26 at midnight
  • Where: Chili’s Grill & Bar, 311 Red Cliffs Drive, St. George

Dec. 6

Dec. 6

  • What: Bloomington and Washington City Wal-Mart Toys for Tots Drive, where the Marine Corps will sponsor a toy drive
  • When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Where: Washington City Wal-Mart, 625 W Telegraph St, St. George, Utah and Bloomington Wal-Mart, 2610 Pioneer Rd, St. George

Dec. 6

  • What: Toys for Tots RC Race, by Champs RC Raceway,
  • When: 10 a.m.
  • Where: Champs RC Raceway, 59 N Old Highway 91 #5, Hurricane

Dec. 13

Dec. 13

  • What: The Southern Utah Mustang Owners Association, The Desert Rodders of Southern Utah and The Rods and Rebels Car clubs will be hosting a Southern Utah Toys for Tots Drive at Ricardo’s Restaurant. Please come out and check out lots of really neat cars and do not forget to bring a toy.
  • When: 1-5 p.m.
  • Where: Ricardos Restaurant, 1110 S Bluff St, St George

Dec. 16

  • What: Association of Retarded Citizens Dinner. The Elks Lodge will be sponsoring a dinner for ARC. The Marine Corps will assist other volunteers and local law enforcement agencies to help with the dinner. Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will be present to hand out gifts to ARC.
  • When: 5:30 to 9 p.m.
  • Where:  Elks Lodge, 630 W 1250 N, St George

Dec. 17

  • What: Coins for Kids Shopping Spree. The Marine Corps will join forces with KONY Coins for Kids and the community to support the shopping endeavor. Bring your best walking shoes and smiles to enjoy an evening of shopping and fun.
  • When: 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Where: Bloomington Wal-Mart, 2610 Pioneer Rd, St. George

Dec. 18

  • What: Coins for Kids Gift Wrapping. The Marine Corps will join KONY Coins for Kids in gift wrapping
  • When: 8 a.m.
  • Where: Dixie Center, 1835 S Convention Center Dr, St. George

Dec. 19

  • What: Coins for Kids Present Deliveries. Anyone can help make deliveries to the kids.
  • When: 3-8 p.m.
  • Where: Dixie Center, 1835 S Convention Center Dr, St. George

Dec. 20

  • What: Toys for Tots Deliveries. Anyone can help make deliveries to the kids.
  • When: 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Where: 450 North 3050 East, St. George

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2 Comments

  • San..... November 27, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Every year when I write this I feel a bit like a schuck but want people to understand something…K$K is a fantastic charity that works through T4T’s, a nationally governed organization with a lot of rules. The big ones are: A child must be be living with parents or legal guardians at an address that is verifiable to that adult. If a child is living with their single parent at grandma’s house then eligibility requirements cannot be verified, because grandma has the utilities in her name and there is no link establishing residency int hat household. Also, T4T’s insists on the child being present when the toys are delivered, around December 6th?, and see that they are from a charity. There is no compassion for the parents here. IF YOU WANT AN ALTERNATIVE: Contact the school district and ask for the name of a family who has either refused to apply to T4T’s or been refused….there are a lot of them out there. The school knows who is wearing flip-flops in December or Mom’s hoodie. You can help this under-served demographic (forgotten kids) by going through the district to verify that they are not scamming you. You cannot claim it as a 501c3 donation on your taxes, but how many of us actually do that anyway?!? Better yet, donate both ways…….

  • Geneva December 16, 2014 at 7:32 am

    I hate you three girls and one boy

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