Local Toys for Tots organizer expecting big need
Angie Vanderpool, a married mother of two, has taken charge of the local Toys for Tots campaign.
Vanderpool worked quietly organizing and promoting Toys for Tots several years but is now ramping up the effort because of tough economic times and expansion into a second county.
"I've been at it three years," she said. "I filled in when Rusty Ziegler stepped down.
"We served 1,200 kids last year and I know it will be bigger this year because of the economy that is hurting everyone," she said. "And now it's a two-county challenge, because we're expanding into Madison County."
Vanderpool feels she's ready for the challenge having attended the Toys for Tots Coordinator's Conference in Washington, D.C., where she received the Meritorious Public Service Citation, and a National Coordinator of the Year award, presented to her by General Osman, the Marine Toys for Tots president.
What she likes best about the program, Vanderpool said, was the fact that everything collected here is distributed here.
"We buy in the county and it's distributed in the county," she said. "That is something I really like."
She said they already hosted a hog roast in September on the Berryville square, and have several other fundraisers planned.
The next will be a chili cookoff and pie auction on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the new Carroll Electric building in Huntsville.
A second chili cookoff and pie auction is set for Saturday, Nov. 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Carroll Electric building in Berryville.
Some 15 different varieties of chili are expected, she said, along with "music, door prizes, and a good time." Anyone wanting to enter the chili cookoff contest, or donate a pie to the auction should contact her.
Another important aspect of the Toys for Tots program is the toy collection boxes and money jars that will be placed in various locations around the county beginning Nov. 1, she said.
"Any and all help is appreciated," she commented. "We're in need of all donations -- money or toys."
Vanderpool says the signup procedure for participating families will be a little different this year. There will be no last minute sign-ups.
Pre-registration is required prior to Dec. 15 and forms will be available at the Department of Human Services office in Berryville.
She said distribution will be the same place as last year, in a storefront next to Harps grocery in Green Forest. Distribution dates are Dec. 19 through Dec. 21.
Vanderpool said she couldn't possibly accomplish what she does without the help of her husband Glen, plus ABATE members, her assistant Glenn Howertown, and members of the Christian Motorcycle Association.
"Without all they do, this would not be possible, and it's all voluntary," she said.
Vanderpool also noted that Toys for Tots is a Marine Corps program and more information is available at its Web site, toysfortots.org.