The Peninsula's first Toys for Tots campaign is in full swing thanks to former U.S. Marine Sgt. Boyd Jorgensen, current operations manager at Lynden Transport Inc. in Soldotna, who is heading up the Marines Toys for Tots campaign on the Peninsula along with Sgt. Hollis Versyp and SSgt. Steven Ammer of Company D (-) at Elmendorf AFB. "In the past, Toys for Tots had been collected on the Peninsula, but shipped to Anchorage for distribution by the Marine Corp," Jorgensen told the Dispatch. "This year, since I now reside in Soldotna, I have brought the resources from Anchorage so we can actually do a distribution on the Peninsula. This means all toys that we are now collecting on the Peninsula will be distributed here, and likewise all cash contributions we receive will go to purchase toys from local businesses and given to children who live here on the Peninsula," explained Sgt. Jorgensen.
Jorgensen started organizing the campaign several months ago, and has been in contact with the Salvation Army and other groups and agencies to have a united campaign. "The response here has been quite overwhelming. From Lynden being very generous with my time to allow me to make contacts, to Spenard Builders Supply who has been extremely helpful, Craig Fanning at the Salvation Army has become our official partner with the Marine Corp, and many other businesses have come forward to help make this happen," said Jorgensen. According to Jorgensen the Marines and the Salvation Army will hold a joint distribution this year on the Peninsula. An easy way to help out the Marines and the Salvation Army is to pick up an extra toy when you are out shopping, and drop it off at one of the Toys for Tots drop sites around the area. "No matter what age group toy you purchase, we will find an appropriate child that needs it and will love it here on the Kenai Peninsula. To participate, simply buy an extra toy and drop it off. But if you are not shopping for toys, and just want to make a cash contribution, you make a check to Toys for Tots and drop it off at one of the drop sites as well and we will buy appropriate toys as funds allow," he said. While posing for a photo last week in his dress blues at the Soldotna Fred Meyers toy department, Sgt. Jorgensen received his first cash contribution for the Peninsula Toys for Tots campaign from a shopper visiting from Klamath, Oregon. "My son is a Marine, and he'd want me to help you Sergeant, thanks for what you're doing here," said Rose Beardsley.
In addition to the Peninsula Clarion/ Dispatch Newspaper offices in Kenai, drop off locations where you'll find signs and boxes for your Toys for Tots donations are HEA in Kenai and Homer, Challenger Learning Center in Kenai, Kenai Brewing Co, (Behind Froso's in Soldotna, Lynden Transport, all four Peninsula Spenard Builders Supply locations from Seward to Homer, Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, Aspen Hotels in Kenai and Soldotna, Wells Fargo branches, Midas Muffler, Hey Good Lookin' in Soldotna, Alaska Bolt & Chain, HiSpeed Gear in Kenai, and the Nikiski Senior Center. For more information about Toys for Tots contact Sgt. Boyd Jorenesen at 252-6285, Sgt. Hollis Versyp at 552-7105, or SSGT Steven Ammer at 552-7116.
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