Toys for Tots seeks place to store donated toys

 

Quinn Phillips, seen in 2013 with Toys for Tots’ Dennis Sipple, donates his birthday toys to the drive. The now 7-year-old says helping kids “makes my heart happy.” (Submitted photo)

Quinn Phillips, seen in 2013 with Toys for Tots’ Dennis Sipple, donates his birthday toys to the drive. The now 7-year-old says helping kids “makes my heart happy.” (Submitted photo)

DOVER — Dennis Sipple doesn’t know how to answer at this point.

Each day, more questioning emails arrive regarding the upcoming Marine Corps League Central Delaware Chapter’s Toys for Tots program.

The toy donation director said interest remains high in the program that assisted more than 1,200 families and their children in Kent County and Milford last year.

“The volunteerism is good; the main thing I need now is a building,” Mr. Sipple said earlier this week.

With a vacant store-turned warehouse in the Greentree Village Shopping Center on Del. 8 now rented out after five years of use, Toys for Tots is seeking a 6,000 square feet or so secured area to store items until a Dec. 19 distribution date.

Last year, more than 3,600 children received toys, along with a stocking stuffer bag and Energizer-donated batteries while supplies lasted.

In 2015, a storage area near U.S. 13 in Woodside is overflowing to the point of capacity, and boxes are now stored in residential spaces until a better way is figured out.

Mr. Sipple said Toys for Tots is hoping to find some entity that will donate space to hold the avalanche of Christmas-time gifts bound to brighten the lives of children and their parents alike. Eventually, up to 20,000 toys will be available for distribution, he said.

Wherever the place is, Mr. Sipple said, “We will be out of there before Christmas and we’ve always left the building cleaner than we found it.”

For more information on how to assist, call Mr. Sipple at 492-0115. An overview of the program sponsored by the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation is available online at Toysfortots.org.

With such dedication from Toys for Tots supporters, the program will proceed somehow, some way. Quinn Phillips, a 7-year-old second-grader at Hartly Elementary School is once again donating all his birthday gifts to the drive, and sends out an annual letter to his invited friends to join the cause.

“Helping kids out makes my heart happy,” Quinn said.

Really, Quinn knows no other way — his family began the donation tradition when he was 4, and have only cemented the annual gift of giving since.

“I wanted to teach him that it was more important to spend time with family and friends than worrying about what gifts you’re getting,” his mom Crystal Phillips said.

At some point each year, Quinn begins asking his mom when planning for the upcoming birthday donation can begin.

“It makes me cry every year,” Ms. Phillips said.

The past two years, Quinn has helped bag and pass out toys in what can be a 13-hour experience with so many people to assist.

“He stays until everyone leaves with no complaints,” Ms. Phillips said.

Quinn said the annual donations are “something I always want to do.”

“He has a heart made of gold and — I’m not just saying this because I’m his mom — a sense of caring for other people that’s just very unusual for someone his age,” Ms. Phillips said.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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