INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The federal government shutdown is among factors that led to the cancellation of a Toys For Tots distribution this winter for Incline Village.
The program began in the late 1940s through the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. For the past 34 years, employees at Coldwell Banker Select have helped run Toys For Tots in Incline Village and Crystal Bay, said Cheryl Delehanty, an Incline resident and Realtor for the company.
“However, with the recent closure of the Reno Marine Corps base, combined with unsuccessful efforts to procure a toy distribution partner, it has made it impossible to continue a campaign as per USMC guidelines,” Delehanty said in a statement this week to the Bonanza.
The way Toys For Tots works, one person — either a Marine, member of a Marine Corps League Detachment, or member of a local organization — is designated a community coordinator.
As Incline Village’s Toys For Tots coordinator the past 21 years, Delehanty worked with businesses and nonprofits to manage the community’s campaign, from initial planning each summer until the last toy was delivered each Christmas.
Once it was determined a program could not be pulled off this year, Delehanty resigned her coordinator position with the USMC in September “with a heavy heart,” she said.
The federal government failed to approve its annual financial appropriations for 2014 in the House and Senate, causing several agencies — including those assisted by the Armed Forces — to cease operations on Oct. 1. In all, 800,000 federal workers were furloughed.
On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced a deal on reopening the government through Jan. 15 and extending the debt limit to Feb. 7. Congress was expected vote on the deal Wednesday evening.
In Incline Village, Toys For Tots had become one of the community’s more popular winter celebrations. Barrels featuring the iconic logo were a familiar site at many businesses each October through December, and the annual Crab Feed at Rookies Sports Bar and kickoff party at The Chateau were well-attended.
As many as 240 local families were assisted on an annual basis in recent years, allowing hundreds of local children the opportunity to enjoy a holiday gift.
“I want to thank our community, the many business owners and countless volunteers who embraced the passion of our mission and the countless hours of support you gave which brought so much joy to so many children for so many years,” Delehanty said. “Coldwell Banker Select will continue to support our local nonprofit organizations whenever possible.”
While the news this year is unfortunate, Delehanty said there is nothing stopping local nonprofits and churches to hold individual or combined toy drives — just not under the Toys For Tots brand.
The process to become an official Toys For Tots coordinator is extensive, she said, and includes background checks, fingerprinting and lengthy interviews to ensure fraud does not occur. In fact, the book of standing operating procedures each coordinator must follow is 132 pages and can be accessed at the organization’s website, www.toysfortots.org.
Residents with Toys For Tots questions are encouraged to contact Delehanty at 775-833-6444.
“Coldwell Banker Select will continue to support our local nonprofit organizations whenever possible.”
Coldwell Banker Select Realtor