This year’s U.S. Marine Corps Toys For Tots drive was able to spread some holiday cheer throughout Mineral County, delivering toys and gifts to kids of all ages in low-income families this Christmas. On December 18, the Mineral County High School Student Council helped collect toys with the sheriff’s office and fire department, filling up an entire truck bed with gifts.

Toys For Tots local campaign coordinator Tamara Bunch has been with the organization since 2013 when she responded to a Mineral County Independent-News ad calling for volunteers. When asked how it’s been managing the toy drives over the years, Bunch responds, “It’s good. There are a lot of children here in Hawthorne, and we coordinate with CAHS (Consolidated Agencies of Human Services) to serve Schurz, Mina, Walker Lake- all of Mineral County- to help find those children in need.”

Bunch says that it partnered with the Mineral County School District this year to help identify kids in need and gathered donations for close to 150 people ages 0-17.

Courtesy photo – Hawthorne Toys for Tots volunteers stand near a donation from GRC Nevada.

“Our motto is that every child deserves a Christmas,” Bunch says. “They need to have that hope and be able to go to school and talk with their peers about what made their holiday special. Mineral County is one of the lowest income areas in the State of Nevada, so a lot of kids here need our help,” she adds.

Over the years, donation boxes have been placed at local businesses and a host of organizations have been involved such as: the Mt. Grant General Hospital, American Legion post, the library, military base, dollar store, American Cruisers motorcycle club, Girl Scouts, and other participating/open establishments.

While Bunch admits that covid has made it a little more difficult to get out and around, collecting toys and delivering them to families, it was a bit easier this year with more businesses open although donations have been down.

“Last year was a difficult year. I’m not sure why our numbers are down on donations this year, maybe it’s how Christmas falls on the calendar or maybe it’s due to covid,” Bunch suggests.

When asked if there was a certain item that kids wanted the most, Bunch says that this year there weren’t as many specific requests for things like there have been in years’ past.

“One lady said that anything (for her kids under 10 years old) would be appreciated, so when volunteers took the gifts to her house she just started crying. A lot of people get emotional when we show up with things for their family; they are just astonished at the toys they bring the kids,” Bunch says.

Personally, Bunch likes getting gifts that keep kids busy and make them think, like buying beading or craft kits for girls or solar kits for boys.

“I just enjoy giving kids a Christmas. We do this all for the kids…we have a lot of great kids here in Mineral County and they all deserve a happy holiday,” Bunch adds.

For more information about how to get involved with Toys for Tots in Mineral County, visit https://hawthorne-nv.toysfortots.org/.