The local charity that has been gathering toys for needy children in Broome County since 1962 is ready to launch another season in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kathy Whyte/WNBF News- Broome Toys for Tots coordinator Officer Chris Marshall
Kathy Whyte/WNBF News- Broome Toys for Tots coordinator Officer Chris Marshall

Toys for Tots coordinator, Binghamton Police Officer Chris Marshall is the guest on the weekly, local public affairs program, Southern Tier Close Up to give details of this year's efforts to make sure the children of Broome County have a happy holiday in spite of all the bad things that have been going on in 2020.

Sign ups for families with children aged 1-10 will start November 30 at the former Macy's store at the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City.

Due to the pandemic, only one parent or legal guardian with a birth certificate or proof of custody/guardianship is asked to come to the location in order to maintain physical distancing requirements and everyone must wear a mask. Parents can fill out their information in advance with a downloadable form on the group's facebook page.

There will be a doorbell at the location for donors to ring to have a volunteer come to take donations of new, unwrapped toys or cash from people who would like to contribute to further keep the gathering size at the headquarters smaller.

The headquarters will be open Monday - Friday from 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm and Saturdays from 9am-12pm.  Donation bins are also located at local police stations as well as the Broome County Sheriff's office at the Public Safety Building on Lt. VanWinkle Drive in the Town of Dickinson through December 21.

Sean Gallup, Getty Images
Sean Gallup, Getty Images

Monetary donations, this year for the first time can be made via Paypal and Vitmo through the Broome County Toys for Tots facebook page as well as sent to the Binghamton Police Department at 38 Hawley Street, Binghamton, NY 13901.

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Marshall says he expects requests for toys will be greater than ever this year given the challenges that many families are facing as a result of the pandemic so any help people can provide would be appreciated.

Stay tuned for more information about upcoming fund and toy-raisers including the popular "Fill the Police Car" event.

Southern Tier Close Up can be heard Saturdays at 6:04 a.m. on News Radio 1290 WNBF and anytime on our podcast.

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