Toys for Tots kicks off 2023 campaign

Published 6:52 pm Monday, November 6, 2023

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The Lowndes and Butler County Toys for Tots program is taking donations for the 2023 Christmas toy drive and will be accepting donations through Dec. 18.

According to Coordinator Michele Sousa, this year’s campaign began earlier than in previous years due to the record number of families in need over the last three years.

“In 2020 the Lowndes and Butler County Toys for Tots program supported 1,571 children,” Sousa said. “In 2021 we helped 2,087, and in 2022 we delivered 27,281 toys to over 6,000 children.”

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Toys for Tots is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity which accepts unwrapped toys and monetary donations to ensure that less fortunate children in the community receive Christmas gifts. 

The program has been sponsored by the United States Marine Corps Reserve since 1991 and their mission, according to their website, is to instill hope and unity in our nation’s communities.

“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, patriotic citizens. The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help less fortunate children throughout the United States 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 each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future.”

Sousa said two of the best things about the program are its impressive usage rate, and its benefits for children in both Butler and Lowndes counties.

“Toys for Tots has an amazing 97% program rate,” Sousa said. “This means that for every dollar donated, 97 cents go towards buying toys, books and other Christmas items for children. All donations, including monetary donations, stay right here in Lowndes and Butler County. Toys collected here stay here.” 

The recipient application period opened Oct. 30 and families who would like to receive a toy are encouraged to apply. Applications can be found at

Any agencies, business, churches, and more who would be interested in hosting a toy drive or having a box delivered for donations are encouraged to reach out to Sousa by email at or by phone at 334-218-4107.

The Lowndes and Butler County Toys for Tots Facebook page will be updated with new drop off locations as they are added.