TULALIP — The Quil Ceda Village Walmart hosted half a dozen volunteers from the United Service Organization on Friday, Dec. 7, as they collected toys for the children of military families.
“Two weeks ago at the Fred Meyer in Kent, we collected about $5,000 worth of toys,” said Meagan Cox, lead communications and IT person for the USO Northwest in Seattle, as she and her fellow volunteers filled shopping carts that Friday with donations from customers. “We’re hoping to get roughly the same results here.”
Cox explained that, while the “Toys for Tots” program is administered by the U.S. Marine Corps and tends to benefit the children of civilian more than military families, the USO’s toy collection drive enlists a largely civilian crew of volunteers to help brighten the holidays of children of military families.
“One of the biggest challenges military families face is that so many people assume that they’ve got it all made for them,” Cox said. “The reality is that military members often make less money than their civilian counterparts, even while being sent overseas to protect our freedoms.”
The USO shopping carts at the Quil Ceda Walmart wound up well-stocked with items such as electronic dartboards and sporting equipment, while contributions such as Xbox games and iTunes gift cards were much appreciated for older kids.
“It’s a wonderful thing to give back to the military members who have served us, by supporting their families,” Cox said.
“And don’t take the time you have with your loved ones for granted,” added Army Pfc. David McClary, one of the military volunteers at the Dec. 7 USO toy drive. “A lot of us can’t see our families for the holidays.”