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“Santa” and Joe Zarn, son of John Zarn, hold toys that were donated Friday during the Toys For Tots John Zarn Memorial Kickoff Friday at Courtesy Dodge on Main Street. The organization is kicking off it’s 30th year.

DANVILLE — Toys for Tots in Vermilion County had a successful kick off for its 30th year in the Danville area on Friday.

The John Zarn Memorial Kickoff Drive was at Courtesy Dodge, 231 W. Main St. in Danville.

The drive is named in memory of the late John Zarn, the founder and longtime coordinator of the Toys for Tots campaign in Danville.

“We owe Mr. Zarn a great debt of gratitude for all he did to bring the campaign to our area,” said current coordinator Megan Montgomery. “As a Marine, Mr. Zarn was dedicated to this cause and his hard work made great strides in helping our most vulnerable children in the holiday season.”

Members of the Zarn family were on hand throughout the day for the drive.

“Friday’s Kickoff went well, it was a great way to get the word out to people that we are starting to think about Christmas and encourage them to do so, too,” according to Montgomery.

The campaign will run through Friday, Dec. 17, with distributions that next week.

Locations where Toys for Tots will be having sign-ups, in addition to the Danville Salvation Army:

  • Nov. 3: 5 – 7 p.m. EST at the West Lebanon, Ind. Public Library.
  • Nov. 4: 4 – 6 p.m. at the Oakwood Public Library; and 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the Ward Park Building in Ridge Farm.
  • Nov. 8: 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the fire station in Rankin.
  • Nov.. 9: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. EDT at the city hall/fire station in Veedersburg, Ind.; and 4 – 6 p.m. EDT at the Attica, Ind. Public Library.
  • Nov. 10: 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. at the Rossville Village Hall; and 5 – 7 p.m. at the Henning Village Hall.
  • Nov. 12: 4 – 6:30 p.m. at the Westville Public Library.
  • Nov. 16: 6 – 8 p.m. at Miss Daisy’s in Sidell.
  • Nov. 17: 4 – 6 p.m. at the Potomac Public Library.
  • Nov. 18: 5 – 6:45 p.m. EDT at the Covington, Ind. Public Library.
  • Nov. 20: 10 a.m. to Noon at the Masonic Lodge (across from the library) in Georgetown.
  • Nov. 22: 5 – 7 p.m. at the Masonic Lodge (across from the old IGA) in Catlin.
  • Nov. 30: 4 – 7 p.m. at CrossRoads Christian Church in Danville.

Danville Salvation Army sign-ups will be Oct. 25- Nov. 24 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. and 1 – 3 p.m.

Children served by Toys for Tots receive not only toys, but games and an age-appropriate book to read.

Local residents are encouraged to bring toys, games and books to the collection boxes throughout the area.

“Oct. 1 is the traditional beginning of our fall campaign,” Montgomery said. “We want to ensure that our toy collection gets off to a strong start because the need is so great.”

The local campaign serves Vermilion County in Illinois and Fountain and Warren counties in Indiana. Last year, more than 9,600 toys were distributed in the Danville area.

Montgomery believes the need will be greater this year because of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting disruption in employment and housing.

Residents will find more than 60 collection boxes throughout the community during the campaign, Montgomery said.

Additionally, residents may donate cash by visiting the local Toys for Tots website at www.danville-il.toysfortots.org. All money raised locally stays in the community to help local residents.

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