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Toys for Tots: Rescuing Families in Need

Stacy Shurtliff, Terrie Trussell-Ginder, Dina and Chris Moberg. Dina holds great grandson to Bob Trusell and fourth generation to participate in Search and Rescue toys for Tots, Tristan Ellsworth.

A SusanvilleStuff Feature 

by Melissa Blosser, Assistant Editor

Remembering those less fortunate remains a constant theme for those affiliated with the Toys for Tots program.  For many years Lassen County Search and Rescue has spent countless hours facilitating the program making sure those in need have magical Christmas.

Terrie Trussell-Ginder, who heads the event along with an entire team of dedicated Search and Rescue team, has been involved in the program since a young child when her father Bob Trussell was also head of the program.

“It’s all in our hearts and making sure this community is taken care of,” said Ginder.”In a sense for this entire team, it’s like rescuing a family.”

According to Ginder, organizing the event begins in September when the group mails out the applications sets up business meetings, and meets with different agencies. In October they meet three to four times a week to further organize the program.  From November 1st to Christmas it is an everyday job checking boxes receiving applications, holding meetings, drafting publicity, budgeting funds, shopping, organizing inventory, data entry, and computer work.

“If it wasn’t for Lassen County there wouldn’t be any Toys for Tots,” said Stacy Shurtliff, a Search and Rescue Volunteer. “It really is the people donating who make it what it is.”

The organization has over 500 applications according to Ginder and is still receiving more.  Toys for Tots gives to children as young as infants all the way through teens. Children receive toys, stocking stuffers, books, apples, oranges, candy canes and stuffed animals.  Members of the community will also serve as volunteers to help families load items to their car.

The organization will put all the money donated back into local retailers during their shopping trips, something Ginder says the team is very adamant about.

Friday, December 14th, an open house is held from 4:00-7:00p.m.  and people can come and view their donations.  The room under the grandstand at the fairgrounds is impressively packed with rows of toys ready for the next day’s distribution.  Coffee and cookies are served and anyone is welcome.

Distribution will take place Saturday December 15th, but the toys will remain in the building until January 5th, for emergency situations.

“Please come down and have a peek, a lot of people say they know where the donations go and this is a chance for them to have a peek,” said Ginder. “People  can see their efforts and what they really did.”

After the distribution on Saturday, December 15th, the left over toys will remain at the fairgrounds until January 5th and the organization will continue to help those who couldn’t make distribution day or other families in need during emergency situations.

If it wasn’t for the efforts of Search and Rescue the program would not be what it is today. Despite their own personal lives and daily tasks the group is dedicated to making sure each family in need in Lassen County receives what every child longs for during Christmas… toys.

“It’s about the kids,” said Ginder. “We wouldn’t have it any other way.”

For more information on Toys for Tots contact Terrie Ginder at 249-5562.

The organization spends countless hours organizing inventory.



Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso Publisher/Editor
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