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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UAPD collects toys for kids during the holiday season


The University of Arizona Police Department and the Veterans Education and Transition Services are collecting unwrapped new toys for the annual Toys for Tots drive. The toy drive is done nationwide in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

According to the Toys for Tots Foundation’s website, toy drives are annually held, and in years past, have covered all 50 states. These drives are coordinated by Marine Corps Reserve Centers, Marine Corps League Detachments and other organizations in the community.

This national charity is localized to the university through the collection of toys at the UAPD station and the VETS office. Toys are collected until Dec. 11, but according to UAPD Public Information Officer, Sgt. Filbert Barrera, this is a “soft date” because the department will accept toys until Dec. 24.

“It’s just another way for us to give back to our community and to make sure little kids get toys during the holiday season,” Barrera said. “It’s a way for us to help out other organizations because we get so much help for us too.”

Other organizations on campus are also getting involved in the toy drive. For the second consecutive year, the sports medicine department is asking that guests of their annual holiday bring toys for the drive. All toys donated will be collected in the UAPD donation box.

Leanna Olivar, associate athletic trainer in the sports medicine department, said the department had donated to the toy drive in the past before the tradition had “trickled out.” According to Olivar, it used to be a department tradition for coworkers to bring each other toys as “gifts” with stories behind them before donating the toys to the kids themselves.

“The gift never actually made it to the coworker; it was donated,” Olivar said. “It was just the season of giving.”

Because the staff size has grown, this tradition has stopped. However, the tradition to donate to Toys for Tots has been restarted.

“We saw that it was something that we wanted to continue, and it’s just to kind of give back to the community,” Olivar said.

According to Barrera, the toy drive is usually successful, with around 4 to 5 donation boxes being filled just at the UAPD.

“The university community is very generous,” Barrera said. “They really do go overboard, so it’s good.”

Once the toys are picked up, they are then distributed to families in need.

Rogelio Delgadillo, a computer engineering junior, Marine veteran and math tutor for the VETS program, explained the that through the Marine Corps Reserve, the toys are given to nonprofit charities in the community like the Salvation Army or church organizations.

From mid-to-late-December, parents of children in need can come and receive around one toy per child. Delgadillo said that toys are usually given out based on the child’s age group.

“It’s for kids whose parents can’t really give their kids much, so it’s kind of giving the kids the whole experience of the holidays and allowing them to get something for the holidays. It’s better than not receiving anything,” Delgadillo said. “They’re living their actual childhood, they’re not missing out on anything.”

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