CINCINNATI — Time is running out to get your children registered for Christmas assistance this year.
Registration for the Greater Cincinnati Toys for Tots program ends on Friday.
Organizers want everyone to have the opportunity to register and are concerned with low turnout numbers in Northern Kentucky
Sgt. Dylan Carrico says they have 2,400 children in Hamilton County and almost 1,900 in Northern Kentucky.
"We expect way more,” Carrico says. “We usually assist about 10,000 children every year and collect about 40,000 toys for the program.”
The pandemic changed the way toys were distributed last year and changes to streamline the process are coming this year as well.
For example, Toys for Tots is hosting a separate distribution in Northern Kentucky.
And that distribution is happening over several days, thanks to the student volunteers at the Ignite Institute.
Students in the logistics program have been helping to register families and sort about 8,500 toys that are already on-site.
Logistics teacher Eric Skeen says this type of project gives students hands-on experience. The students will soon have real-world internships, and this prepares them for that, he says.
Another big change this year: both the Hamilton County and Northern Kentucky toy distributions will be drive-thru pickups.
Registered families will select their day and time for toy pickup and will simply drive up, hand volunteers their ticket and toys will be placed in the trunk.
Sgt. Carrico says the goal is to make the process as efficient and safe as possible.
Sgt. Carrico is passionate about Toys for Tots.
“A lot of these families, they can't afford to put food on the table,” he said. “So having them be able to collect toys just relieves such a stress off of them.”
The Greater Cincinnati Toys for Tots program is open to families in Hamilton, Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Grant and Gallatin counties.
To register in Northern Kentucky, visit the Ignite Institute at 37 Atlantic Avenue in Erlanger. Registration will be accepted Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 - 1:30.
In Hamilton County, the final opportunity to register is Thursday, November 18. Stop by Conquering Faith Tabernacle at 117 Mills Street in Lockland. Registration is open from noon-5.
Requirements are strict and applicants must bring proof of residency, birth certificates for all children and a photo ID for the parent or guardian applying.
You can also register and inquire about assistance at the Salvation Army.
To learn more about registration dates, times and requirements, visit: https://cincinnati-oh.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/request-toys.aspx
Toy Team 9 is dedicated to helping local charities this year, including Toys for Tots.
To make a donation, visit www.toyteam9.com. You will also be able to drop off toys in-person at several charities on December 3 and 4. Details on the locations will be available soon.