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Toys for Tots Brightening Up Holiday Season

The group, which has been around for 65 years, gathered more than 150,000 donations last year.

Reminder: Santa Claus is coming to town on Sunday.

West Real Estate will welcome the man in red to their business on Main Street from 12-4 p.m. as a part of the United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive.

Representatives from AMP 103.3 radio will be on hand playing holiday classics and residents are encouraged to bring unwrapped toys to donate. Free refreshments, members of the Marines and other surprises will also make for a festive day.

Original Story: It’s the happiest time of the year, but that isn’t the case for everyone. And that’s where Toys for Tots needs your help.

The group is once again collecting donations to distribute in Wilmington and other local towns in Middlesex and Essex County.

During Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Frank West, Frank West Jr., and Staff Sargent Joseph Gaddi from the United States Marines were on hand to talk about the program that helped distribute more than 150,000 toys last year.

“We put out empty boxes, and by some miracle they get filled every year,” said West, the owner of West Real Estate. “Because they get filled, the Marines can do a great duty to the community in making the holidays a little brighter.”

There are Toys for Tots boxes set up at Town Hall and other town buildings along with businesses like Market Basket, Walgreens, several on Industrial Way and many more around Wilmington.

Any family in need during this holiday season can contact West at (978) 658-1754 for information on how they can take advantage of Toys for Tots for their family. Interested residents can also visit ToysForTots.org.

The program has been running for 65 years when it began with just one toy.

“Every year it grows,” said Staff Sargent Gaddi. “The support we get for Toys for Tots is phenomenal. It’s a great way to give back to the community and take care of people in our town.”

West will also host an event on Sunday to help gather toys. From 12-4 p.m. at West Real Estate there will be photos with Santa, elves, refreshments, holiday carols, prizes and more.

Selectmen praised the organization for its work in the community, and said it’s a welcome sight during the holiday season.

“I think it’s another example of Wilmington stepping it up,” said selectman Lou Cimaglia. “Anything that anyone needs, Wilmington has always been right there.”

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