Tots Without Toys This Christmas
DIXIE COUNTY - "Without toys for tots last year, i doubt very seriously my kids would have gotten any Christmas," said Dixie County Resident, Melanie Turner.
The Marine Corps has been bringing a gift-filled Christmas morning to kids around the country since 1947; kids like Turner's three boys.
"We live in a very poor small community, and many children benefit from this," said Turner.
This is possible through a program called Toys for Tots.
In Levy, Gilchrist and Dixie County, Santa's helpers have been Pat and Vince Arcadi.
They've been married almost 28 years and have been running Toys for Tots in the three counties for 7 years, spending their anniversary distributing gifts.
While they parents to a Marine, Vince is a Marine himself.
He has seen the program grow, in their toy house and in the community.
"It's a lot of tears, a lot of families thanking you," said Vince Arcadi, coordinator for Toys for Tots in Dixie County. "It makes you feel good to do it, you gotta do it to know it."
But Vince's health is slowing down Santa's sled this year, allowing the couple to only organize a Toys for Tots in their own Dixie County.
"Some of these kids wouldn't have toys if it weren't for Toys for Tots," Vince said.
Pat says Toys for Tots has brought a Christmas to as many as 2700 kids in the three counties combined: up to 1200 in Dixie, 600 in Gilchrist, and 1200 in Levy.
That's about 1800 tots without toys this year.
They are asking for help so that next Christmas…will be different.
The Aarcadis say they have everything in place ready for whoever wants to take charge of this organization in Levy and Gilchrist counties.
"I have no problem doing that so that the counties can continue having a Toys for Tots program," said Pat Arcadi, co-coordinator for Toys for Tots in Dixie County.
The Arcadi's say that anyone can take over, you don't have to be a Marine or be part of a military group.
If you are interested to fill out an application to become a coordinator go to http://toysfortots.org/
Keep in mind that it is too late to become a coordinator this year.
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