Donate a toy, get an oil change

PERKINS TWP. "Bah Humbug?" You won't hear it here. It's an expression that has been used to show disgust with holiday
May 24, 2010



"Bah Humbug?" You won't hear it here.

It's an expression that has been used to show disgust with holiday traditions.

But the local merchants pitching in to help with Toys for Tots won't remind you of Ebenezer Scrooge.

From restaurants to car dealerships, they are all offering their time and services for the national campaign, Toys for Tots.

Toys for Tots is organized by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Every year, it collects new and unwrapped toys during the months of October, November and December to distribute as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children, according to its Web site.

Local Marine Corps Reserve Units or Marine Corps League Detachment groups authorized by the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation conduct their area's Toys for Tots campaign.

James "Jimmy" Dee, commandant of the local Marine Corps League Detachment 1192, is one of three former Marines organizing Erie County's Campaign.

This is the group's third year organizing the campaign in Erie County. There are about 60 drop-off locations in Erie County.

"We've got all kinds of help doing this," Dee said. "Everybody seems to want to get into it."

Kasper Toyota Scion, in Perkins Township, is offering customers free oil changes in exchange for toys valued at $10 or more.

This is the second year the dealership has offered its services, which is part of a national Toyota promotion. The dealership's goal is to completely fill the bed of a 2008 Toyota Tundra located in the dealership's showroom.

So far this year, the amount of toys the dealership has received has more than quadrupled, said Paul Henry, the dealership's service and parts director.

"It's certainly a good cause," he said.

Kasper Toyota Scion will be collecting toys until Dec. 14. Customers can choose to receive the oil change immediately or get a coupon for an oil change in the future. The coupon expires March 15.

Last year, the local Toys for Tots campaign received about $28,000 worth of toys and about $6,000 in monetary donations. As of Friday, monetary donations were down compared to the same time last year, but the number of toys had increased.

"I'm expecting we will do at least as well as last year," Dee said.

Bay Bell Restaurant in Bay View offered a free silver dollar pancake breakfast Saturday to every child who brought in a new toy for the Toys for Tots campaign.

Other eateries are raising money to benefit the Toys for Tots.

Hunter's Sports bar, Terry's Tavern and Bud's Place decided to host separate fundraising breakfast events for the campaign.

"There are a lot of poor kids and they need toys too," said Jim Robert, owner of Bud's Place.

Bud's Place, 509 Tiffin Ave., will host its breakfast event from 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 16. Terry's Tavern is hosting its event from 9 to 10:30 a.m. today(DEC.9).. Hunter's Sports Bar hosted its event last weekend.

Dee said he is grateful for all the community support.

"I'm delighted they're doing this," he said. "There are a lot of people in America and Erie County and Sandusky that do not have a way to provide their kids with a Christmas. Everybody should have a Christmas. I'm hoping more of this will be done next year for Toys for Tots."

The Sandusky Register is a Toys for Tots sponsor and has a donation box for toys in the lobby.