Thanks to everyone who helped out!
By Michael Turton
Anyone who knows Anthony Phillips knows he is someone who doesn’t take long to get to the point. So when he was asked why he gets involved with the annual Christmas Toys for Tots program his response took roughly one second – at most. “Because it needs to be done,” he said. This was the twentieth year that Phillips has recognized that need by serving as local coordinator for the nationwide drive that provides Christmas gifts to children who might otherwise do without. “This year was very successful,” Phillips said. “Maybe not quite as good as last year which was a banner year, but we serviced everyone who needed help.” About a dozen businesses in Cold Spring and Nelsonville displayed the large, distinctive Toys for Tots collection boxes, including all local restaurants.
Phillips said that all the toys and gifts collected this year were distributed within Putnam County. Last year, some gifts were taken to Newburgh to help out after someone broke into the distribution center there and stole all the toys that had been collected. “This year I’d say about 70 percent of the toys were distributed locally and the rest were taken to Brewster,” Philips said. Distribution was done locally through the Cold Spring Fire Company. Participating organizations picked up the gifts they needed to serve their families on Dec. 20. Tommy Wills, a firefighter with the Cold Spring Fire Company, again assisted Phillips with the 2011 drive.
“We hope to come up with a few new ideas for next year,” Phillips said. “We’d like to get more businesses involved and also promote giving of gift cards for young teenagers.” Phillips said that young teens are often overlooked because most people tend to buy toys for younger children. Toys for Tots is a program of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. “I’m a Marine and we’ve been doing this for a long time,“ Phillips said. “I enjoy doing it. It feels good.”