Through Dec. 21, the shelter will accept the donation of a child’s toy, worth $15 or more, as qualification for a reduction in animal adoption fees.
A fully vetted dog or puppy can be adopted for $40, while a similar cat or kitten can be adopted for $20. The regular adoption fee for dogs is $115, while the fee for cats is $95.
Last year, 325 pet adoptions were made during the two months of the drive, with more than 550 toys collected. In 2010, the first year of shelter participation in the drive, 140 animals were adopted and 200 toys collected.
The shelter is open Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adoptions are available until 4 p.m.
The Toys for Tots drive is held annually to provide Christmas cheer for children who otherwise might not receive any gifts.
“We’re hoping to get 50,000 or more toy donations to serve at least 10,000 kids this Christmas,” said Matt Careins, the Toys for Tots community organizer for Heard, Haralson, Carroll and Cleburne, Ala., counties. “We’ll be having toys drives at Walmart in Carrollton and Bremen every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 16.”
Careins said the drive is also looking for volunteers to help collect toy donations, sort toys and fill orders at distribution time.
“We need members of church and civil groups who are willing to volunteer,” he said. “Since there’s no Marine Corps base or reserve unit locally, we strictly rely on volunteers to do all the work.”
Toys for Tots collects toy donations for children from birth to age 12.
“We always struggle the most with donations for ages 10-12 and birth to 2 years,” he said, “but all toys are appreciated.”
Careins said the toys should be new and not gift-wrapped. They can be put in any of the numerous collection boxes around the area. The collection sites can be found by going online to www.toysfortots.org.
“If anyone wants to volunteer or become a drop box location, they can e-mail me through the website or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He said the application procedure for children needing toys is different in the various counties.
“Parents of Heard County children apply through the Department of Family and Children Services,” he said. “In other counties, they apply through the school system at any school.”
Careins said the children do not have to be in attendance at the school where application is made.
“Even if the children aren’t school age yet, their parents can still apply at any school,” he said.
The deadline for children applications is Dec. 10.
Careins emphasized that Toys for Tots is locally funded for local children.
“All the toys stay right here in West Georgia and Cleburne County, Ala.,” he said.