Junior Service League took over a local annual toy drive in 1972, which they had been assisting with for many years. The toy drive originally started with 75-100 children on Nebo Mountain who desperately needed Christmas presents. In 2006, we provided gifts for 1,400 needy children all across Blount County. In 2007 the decision was made to change our program name from Toys for Tots to Toys for Blount County. Junior Service League chose to make this step to clarify to our donors, supporters, and sustaining members that every dollar raised and toy collected stays right here in our county to help those children in need. We provide gifts for newborns, tots, and children up to age 14. We want our name to represent all the ages of the children we help. Toys for Blount County is a year long process that requires many hours and many hands to accomplish. In the spring, Junior Service League members shop for new toys. We are able to purchase quality age and gender specific toys at excellent prices to extend the value of our hard earned dollars.
In October, in coordination with United Way, we answer phones for an entire week to take applications for the toys. Parents, grand-parents and guardians call with their children’s name and ages. Their eligibility is checked through United Way and compared to other Christmas wish lists in town.
In November, we place canisters in local businesses to collect cash donations in which every penny goes to Toys for Blount County. Some businesses provide toy collection barrels for people to drop off new toys. New members work with schools to raise money, collect new toys and spread awareness of giving to those less fortunate. With the help of our Sustainer Members, our members also collect Personal Care Products, such as shampoo and soap for our older kids.
December: Packing and Delivering! Every member participates in two exciting days of packing our purchased toys and those donated by schools and our community. The toys are packed in boxes and prepared for delivery with Empty Pantry food to Blount County families.
How to Donate New Toys:
We will have toy drives at various schools and businesses during the fall and winter. However, the best way to help us provide toys is through a monetary donation, as we are able to get lower prices than the general public through purchasing in bulk. You can make a donation here.