The Toys for Tots drive’s barrels and boxes are out, silently calling for people to take a little time, a little money, and help brighten the holidays for a needy child with a gift — a doll, a little car or train, some crayons and paper for drawing and coloring. Or maybe something that bleeps, flashes and needs batteries.

“Last year we collected and purchased over 32,000 new toys and distributed them to needy kids in Fairfield County,” said Henry Norley, chairman of the Northwest Fairfield County Toys for Tots campaign.

Toys for Tots is a nationwide program affiliated with the Marine Corps and its veterans, and the Ridgefield Detachment of the Marine Corps League (MCL) has been conducting an annual Toys for Tots campaign since 1972.

“The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted,” the Marines say.

“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 Northwest Fairfield County Toys for Tots campaign run by Ridgefield’s Marine Corps League has grown over the years and now covers 10 towns in Fairfield County: Ridgefield, Redding, Weston, Wilton, Brookfield, Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, and Newtown.  

Norley said in an email to The Press that the MCL will be accepting toys at the more than 20 collection stations around town until Friday, Dec. 15.

“We stop collecting toys about a week before Christmas so that the charities, churches and family agencies we support have time to get the toys to the parents and kids before holidays,” Norley said.

The Ridgefield Police Department and The Toy Chest shop on Main Street are supporting the effort with a “stuff a cruiser” toy drive Saturday, Dec. 2, from 10 to 2 as part of the Holiday Stroll event put on by the Downtown Ridgefield merchants association. The Toy Chest will be offering a 10% discount on toys purchased for the drive.

“We will be collecting new, unwrapped toys that will be turned over to the Marine Corps League Ridgefield detachment for distribution,” said Capt. Jeff Kreitz, the Ridgefield Police Department’s public information officer.

The MCL’s toy collection is taking place in the following locations around Ridgefield: the Ridgefield Fire Department main firehouse on Catoonah Street; the Ridgefield Police Department on Governor Street; Fairfield County Bank’s main office at 150 Danbury Road and also branch offices, and its insurance office on Main Street; Bissell Pharmacy on Governor Street; Coldwell Banker real estate at 398 Main Street; Edward Jones financial services at 86 Danbury Road; the Marine Corps League at 31 Halpin Lane; Reynolds & Rowella Accounting, 90 Grove Street; The Ridgefield Press office, 16 Bailey Avenue; Pamby Motors on Danbury Road; The Toy Chest, 441 Main Street; The UPS Store, 54 Danbury Road; William Raveis Real Estate, 426 Main Street; St. Mary Parish School; and all Ridgefield public elementary schools.