Fire Department Opens Toys for Tots Campaign


(Thursday, November 23, 2006 8:12 AM EST)

The Arlington County Fire Department again this holiday season is joining agencies across the region in supporting the the Marine Corps Reserves' Toys for Tots program.

The initiative kicked off on Nov. 21, and will run through Dec. 24.

“We take care of families as a part of our business, so we feel very strongly about giving to the communities we serve,” Arlington Fire Chief James Schwartz said. “Anything that we can do to help those that are less fortunate during the holiday season is something that is important to us.”

Arlington has joined with fire departments in Montgomery, Prince George's, Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties and the District of Columbia to make the campaign a success.

“This is the second year that the region has formed an alliance,” said Toys for Tots coordinator Lt. Sean Egan of the District of Columia Fire Department. “It's a win-win situation for the community. Everything that is collected in the communities is being redistributed in the community.”

Last year, the fire departments collected 64,000 toys regionally. The goal is to collect at least 80,000 toys this year.

Local residents can drop new, unwrapped toys at fire stations all throughout the metro area. In Arlington, toys can be donated at all Arlington fire stations, the Arlington County government center (2100 Clarendon Blvd.), the Fire Prevention offices (1020 North Hudson St.) and the Fire Training Academy (2800 South Taylor St.).

“Daytime, evening weekend, somebody is always there,” Egan said. “All you have to do is go to the door and drop off a toy.”

Marines will collect toys from the fire departments throughout the holiday season, and distribute them to local schools, churches and organizations that identify children who are in need.

Toys for Tots was founded in 1947 in Los Angeles. That first year, members of the Marine Corps Reserve collected and distributed 5,000 toys to children. The effort eventually grew nationwide.

For more information, see the Web site at

Arlington Fire Chief James Schwartz, his children and members of the fire department participate in the kickoff to the annual Toys for Tots campaign.
(Photo by Kristen Armstrong)

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