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Toys For Tots entering stretch run of 2013 campaign

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MASSENA - With the Christmas holiday quickly approaching, officials with St. Lawrence County Toys For Tots say they are about halfway to their goal of collecting 14,000 toys, enough to provide two gifts to 7,000 children in need this holiday season.

With the campaign entering the stretch run, the agency will now be shifting its focus to toy drives in the Massena and Potsdam area.

Massena’s Ponderosa hosted a fundraiser this week for Toys for Tots, collecting $500, as well as two large boxes filled with toys.

“I’ve very pleased,” said St. Lawrence County Toys For Tots Coordinator Raymond J. Cutway. “This donation will really help us towards reaching our goal.”

The final push will continue on Friday with a toy drive at Kinney Drugs in Canton. The agency will then host toy drives from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Massena, with an event at Walgreens on Saturday and Kinney’s on Sunday.

Next week Toys for Tots will wrap up its campaign with a four-day run that includes two toy drives in Potsdam, as well as one in Gouverneur and a recently scheduled final toy drive in Ogdensburg that Mr. Cutway is hoping will allow them to reach this year’s goal.

“We’re going to have to have a couple of great weeks,” he said. “We’re not even close; we’re about half way there.”

Mr. Cutway said he is behind last year’s pace and with additional children to serve that’s not a good place to be in.”

Mr. Cutway said it is Toys for Tots goal to this year provide toys for 7,000 children up to 18 year olds. While nationally, the organization only goes up to the age of 14, Mr. Cutway said he collected gifts for teens up to the age of 18, because he doesn’t want to see anyone left out.

“How do you think that child feels when he or she opens up gifts, but there is nothing for their brother or sister?” he asked. “That’s why I collect for kids up to 18.”

Toy drives next week will be held on Dec. 12 at the Kinney’s by Clarkson in Potsdam, Dec. 13 at the Kinney’s in Gouverneur, Dec. 14 at the Walmart in Potsdam and Dec. 15 at the Walmart in Ogdensburg.

Each of these drives will also run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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