Meadville Tribune

December 19, 2012

Community saves Christmas for Toys for Tots

By Keith Gushard
Meadville Tribune

MEADVILLE — “It’s been absolutely over the top,” Carrie Nageotte said of collections in the last week for the Crawford County Toys for Tots program. “The generosity of our community is amazing.”

Things didn’t look so good about a week ago. In a story published by the Tribune on Dec. 11, Nageotte said collections were only half of what is needed for this year to help children who may otherwise go without Christmas gifts.

Toys for Tots collects and distributes new toys across Crawford County for needy families with children as old as 16. Toys for Tots uses Department of Public Welfare guidelines to determine if a family is eligible, and families must sign a declaration form, Nageotte  said.

The public’s response to the Tribune story stunned Nageotte, who has coordinated the Toys for Tots program in Crawford County since it started locally 16 years ago.

“I’m still picking up toys. It’s exhausting, yet wonderful,” she said Tuesday afternoon. “The outpouring of support has been overwhelming.”

In addition to toys, the program received $5,000 from a donor who wished to remain anonymous, Nageotte said. The Mercer County Toys for Tots program also pitched in by donating toys that came in after its deadline had passed.

It all adds up to Christmas for nearly 800 local kids the Toys for Tots program expects to help this year.

On Thursday, the Crawford County Toys for Tots program holds an final sign-up in Meadville for those who missed the previous sessions and referrals from area social service agencies.

Missed the sign-ups?

Applications for the Crawford County Toys for Tots program for those who missed previous sign-ups will be accepted Thursday. Applications will be taken Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon at the program’s storage site at Vantage health care’s offices at 1305 S. Main St., Meadville.

Persons must present photo identification and proof of address such as a utility bill; and must have an insurance card for each child and birth certificate for each child.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at