Linda Taylor, left, unloads a box of donated toys with the help of Lisa Idzahl. For the 10th straight year, the Toys for Tots drive in Routt County was a resounding success.

Photo by John F. Russell

Linda Taylor, left, unloads a box of donated toys with the help of Lisa Idzahl. For the 10th straight year, the Toys for Tots drive in Routt County was a resounding success.

Big red truck delivers again

Local Toys for Tots program continues years of success

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Linda Taylor, left, unloads a box of donated toys with the help of Lisa Idzahl. For the 10th straight year, the Toys for Tots drive in Routt County was a resounding success.

— The annual Toys for Tots drive is winding down in Steamboat Springs, but that shouldn't stop people from stopping by Steamboat Motors to donate a gift or money to the big red truck.

"It's been a steady flow of giving since we started in November," said Stella Peroulis, an administrative assistant at Steamboat Motors, which is the local collection and distribution point for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program. "The truck we put the toys in was never empty, but I bet it got filled up two or three times."

The Toys for Tots program is a joint effort between the Marine Corps, Routt County United Way and Steamboat Motors. Each year, community members leave toys in the bed and back seats of the big red truck. The toys are then distributed to children through the United Way's Christmas Wishes program.

"We have families, schools and businesses in Routt County that come and use the toys for their adopted families," Peroulis said.

Michael Condie, who works as a Routt County Veterans Affairs Service officer, promotes the foundation's collection drive locally.

"The great thing about the Toys for Tots program is that all the toys stay in Routt County," Condie said. "It's a partnership between the Routt County United Way and the Marines."

Peroulis said it just wouldn't be the holidays at Steamboat Motors without the Toys for Tots drive.

"We've done this since before I started working here," Peroulis said. "We take a lot of pride in this program. It's neat to be a part of it."

The Toys for Tots program has distributed more than 351 million toys to 166 million children across the nation during the past 58 years.

Mark Andersen, executive director of Routt County United Way, said Toys for Tots is key to making Christmas wishes come true for hundreds of local children.

"The Toys for Tots program is wonderful," Andersen said. "Our community gives throughout the year, but especially during the holidays."

This year, Routt County United Way identified 150 families for the Christmas Wishes program. Andersen said each identified family was "adopted" by local businesses and organizations.

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