Concert helps buy Christmas gifts for kids
The Marine Corps League St. Mary Detachment will hold its annual fundraising concert to bring Christmas gifts to underprivileged children in the area at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Morgan City Municipal Auditorium at 728 Myrtle St.
Toys for Tots coordinator Bill Goessl said the Christmas-themed concert performed by the Marine Corps band of New Orleans is free to the public, but each person is asked to bring an unwrapped toy or they can make a financial donation.
“The auditorium has been packed for the concert the past several years,” he said. The concert is expected to last about two hours.
“We give gifts to between 1,400 and 1,500 in the entire St. Mary Parish and lower St. Martin Parish,” Goessl said.
The concert is the primary fundraiser of the St. Mary Detachment 600 of the Marine Corps League to bring gifts to children through the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program that began in 1948. Goessl said the local detachment began in 1984 and immediately became a part of the program.
“We try to give each child three gifts; a $30 gift, a $15 gift and a stocking stuffer,” Goessl said.
If bicycles are donated, and there have been few bicycle donations this year, a child may be given the option of the bicycle or the three gifts.
The detachment held its annual Toys for Tots Poker Run Oct. 19 but weather hampered the event reaching its expectations. Goessl is hoping next week’s concert will pick up the slack.
Cash donations can be made locally or to the national Toys for Tots program. The advantage of making the donations here at one of the local events is that 100 percent of the donation is used for the local children the detachment serves, Goessl said.
The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distributes those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.
Over the past 10 years, Marines have distributed an average of more than 11 million toys to about 5 million needy children annually, says a brochure prepared by the Marine Corps Reserve.
The program’s website says the primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive and patriotic citizens. The program tries to help the children experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources — our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months during the toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future.
Contact Goessl at 985-384-3446 for more information on the local or national program.