WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Apple recently caught up with Karen West for five question questions. With her husband Frank, Karen is the longtime coordinator of the Marine Corp Reserves’ Toys For Tots program in Wilmington.
Why did you get involved with the Toys For Tots Program?
“We’ve been involved for 22 years. We got started because we wanted to do something in the community to help out. We figured this would be a very good way to give back to the community. We started a Toys For Tots drive in Wilmington, then Tewksbury asked us to start one up over there. Over time, Frank and I became the zone managers for both Wilmington & Tewksbury.”
Where can Wilmington residents drop off their toy donations?
“We have approximately 78 donation boxes between Wilmington and Tewksbury. Some of the locations in Wilmington include Market Basket, Super Cuts, Wilmington Dance Academy, both Reading Cooperative Banks, Eastern Bank, Firestone, All Floorz, Planet Fitness, and the list goes on and on.”
When is the deadline for toy donations?
“We’re looking for new, unwrapped toys. The deadline is Friday, December 14. We’re trying to get as many donations as possible by December 12. This year, there’s a concentration on toys for infants (0-2) and children (12 and up).”
How many toys do you collect in Wilmington each year?
“We used to count, but we no longer count [due to the overwhelming response from the community]. I can say we usually fill up the storage pod outside our building at least twice.”
How did you land Rick Middleton for your big Toys For Tots Drive Fundraiser?
“My husband Frank and I reach out to various organizations and let them know we’re looking for people to volunteer. Over the years, we’re worked with the Bruins Alumni Association. Rick was here many years ago. He also came last year and enjoyed himself so much, he asked if he could come back this year.”
BONUS QUESTION: Do you do pickups?
“If anyone needs us to pick up toy donations at their own location, they can call us at 978-658-1754 or 978-758-7824. Sometimes people have birthday parties or Christmas parties where they collect donations. We’ll gladly come and pick them up.”
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