Collecting toys for lots: Businesses join in efforts to help needy families

Roman toys
Randy Roman collected toys at his chiropractic practice in Grand Junction. Many businesses strive to help families in need during the holiday season. (Business Times photo by Mike Moran)

The annual Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive didn’t go on as scheduled in Mesa County this year, but several Grand Valley businesses have pitched in to try to fill the gap.

Led in part by KREX-TV, the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local No. 145 and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, the collaborative effort collected toys for children from families in need.

KREX volunteered to serve as a dropoff point for toys and displayed its toys on the news set to remind viewers of the campaign.

“With the support of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local No. 145, the media attention provided by News Channel 5 and the amazing charitable spirit of the citizens of Mesa County, I know that this community will provide these very deserving children with more than just toys. It will provide these needy kids with happy memories that they can treasure for a lifetime,” says Kevin McChesney, sales leader for KREX.

Ashley Furniture Homestore and Sportsman’s Warehouse also collected toys and offered donors a chance to win gift certificates and roundtrip tickets to Denver on Denver Air Connection.

Eight Lions Clubs in Mesa County joined forces to contribute to the toy drive, with dropoff locations at places that normally collect for Toys for Tots. One additional spot was the newly opened office of Envoy Mortgage in Grand Junction.

“Envoy wants to be good stewards with the community we live in,” says Envoy’s Brad McCloud, former president of the Grand Junction Lions Club. “The Grand Valley Lions said, ‘If Toys for Tots isn’t there, how can we help the Salvation Army?’”

McCloud said collection spots also included Mesa Mall, Enstrom Candies, Brown’s Shoe Fit and the Clarion Inn. RE/MAX and Bray Real Estate served as cosponsors.

The toys end up at the doorstep of the Salvation Army. The Mesa County Workforce Center compiles a list of needy families that enjoy the toys for Christmas. Toys go to children from toddlers to pre-teens, McCloud says.

Roman Family Chiropractic in Grand Junction also joined in the collection campaign with its 11th annual toy drive. The Salvation Army loaded the toys collected at Randy Roman’s business in mid-December.

“The Marines have done this 60 plus years,” says Roman, noting that the military organization collected toys nationwide as scheduled this year. “To love and to be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.”

Roman says the contributions mean more than simply toys for families in need. “This reminds them that people care,” he says. “They’re not invisible. People care.”

Roman also collected non-perishable food at his office prior to Thanksgiving, a drive that netted 2,600 pounds of food that filled another Salvation Army truck.

While KREX helped lead the toy drive, other media also joined in the spirit of philanthropy.

KKCO-TV spearheaded the 11Cares for Families Christmas Food Drive, collecting food for families in need. Dropoff locations included Brady Chiropractic, Coldwell Banker Home Owners Realty, Safeway, City Market and Mesa County School District 51.

KJCT-TV raised money for the local Partners program during its annual televised auction in September. The funds benefit Mesa County Partners through the holidays as the organization pairs volunteer adults with troubled youth in a mentoring program that’s received nationwide attention.

Roman says he teaches employees and others that it’s important to reach out more and to expand efforts in all areas of life.

He says it’s the same concept as placing a fish in a larger fish tank so it can grow in size. “What’s the size of the fish tank you live in?” he asks? “How you do one thing is how you do everything,”

The whole community stepped up to fill the need for toys this year, he says.