If you think the Christmas push is starting too early this year, consider this: Bob Alcorn started his Christmas shopping the moment the 2008 holiday came to a close.
Alcorn is the co-coordinator of Toys for Tots in Cecil County.
“Last year, we gave 42,000 new toys to 9,998 children all over this county,” he said Friday.
Thanks to the economy, Alcorn said he expects the number of children in need to be higher this year.
For that reason, he and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves are hoping to receive just as many more toys for children up to age 14.
So far, the organization’s Elkton Boulevard warehouse is filling up with donations, he said, adding that cash donations are used to purchases more toys.
“Every penny collected, every toy collected will be given away in this county,” he said. “Several truckloads of toys have already arrived.”
Toys for Tots suffered a loss in March when a burglar made off with nearly $2,000 in toys and infant strollers.
In September, New Castle County police arrested a Wilmington man in connection with the burglary.
Although the stolen toys were never located, Alcorn said Toys for Tots managed to recover with the help of local businesses.
Currently, the organization’s 6,000-square-foot warehouse is about half full, Alcorn said.
“But there’s plenty of room for more,” he added.
Various charitable organizations in Cecil County will distribute the toys including Head Start, the Help Center, Clairvaux Farms, Wayfarer’s House, Ray of Hope Mission Center, Perryville Juvenile Outreach, Pleasant View Baptist Church in Port Deposit and St. Mary Anne’s Church in North East.
Both donors and families needing assistance are directed to call 410-658-1556 or visit the Toys for Tots Web site at http://elkton-md.toysfortots.org.
To kick off the countywide campaign, members of the Marine Corps will be stationed in front the North East Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Elkton on Friday and Saturday.
An ex-Marine himself, Alcorn said he has a soft side when it comes to children and the holidays.
“I think we will reach every child and more than we did last year,” he said. “It’s going to be a great Christmas.”