Police helping the less fortunate
The Orland and Willows police departments are working to make the holidays a little happier for children this holiday season.
The agencies have again partnered with the US Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program to make sure new toys are under the tree on Christmas day for all less fortunate children.
The "Toys for Tots" program collects new, unwrapped toys to distribute to children in Glenn County.
"We know there are a lot of families out there struggling in this economy," said Willows Police Chief Bill Spears. "My concern is that there will be children going without gifts if we don't step up again this year."
This is fifth year for the Willows Police Department and the fourth year for the Orland Police Department to participate in the "Toys for Tots" campaign.
"Each year, we are collecting more and more toys and I hope the trend continues this year," said Orland Police Chief J.C. Tolle.
Last year, the two law enforcement agencies collected more than 4,000 toys, books and stocking stuffers that were distributed to 692 kids throughout Glenn County.
The Willows police collected 1,211 toys and 2,102 stocking stuffer-type toys to Orland's 780 toys and 1,008 stocking stuffers.
"I'm feeling a little competitive," Tolle said. "Willows had a large donation from WalMart which helped pad their numbers. I would like to see the Orland Community come together and beat Willows' numbers this year. I know we can do it."
Toys will be collected until Dec. 17 and then taken over to Chico to be organized, then re-distributed back into the local communities.
Spears, a former Marine, said in the 63 years of the US Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, Marines have distributed more than 400 million toys to more than 188 million needy children.
"There are a lot of great organizations that have toy drives at Christmas, but the Marine Toys for Tots program is one of the longest-running and reputable programs," said Spears. "All the work is done by volunteers and 100 percent of the donations, go back to the local communities."
Spears said thanks to the holiday sprit of Glenn County residents, the Willows and Orland police are able to provide a nice Christmas to some of the county's neediest children.
"Families shouldn't have to chose between buying food or clothing and having Christmas presents under the tree," Spears said. "It's not about poverty. If you are struggling, then spend your household money on food and clothes this year and leave the toys to us."
Toy boxes have been placed throughout both communities, and toy pick-up by volunteers will be available by calling the police department in your community.
Monetary donations can be made at Denny's in Willows, with 100 percent of the proceeds used to purchase toys if needed for particular age groups.
The program serves children newborn to age 14.
Parents can register for gifts by logging on to www.toysfortots.org and scrolling to the appropriate state and county.