The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program will serve families in Moniteau County this Christmas season.
More information will be available in coming weeks, but Moniteau County Coordinator Dan Mesey has already gained community support from several organizations, including the California Area Chamber of Commerce.
At the chamber's meeting Oct. 12, Mesey introduced the toy collection and distribution campaign with a handmade doll. The program began in 1947 in Los Angeles, California, and today, it reaches more than 700 communities beyond the 50 states.
Fewer than 80 of Missouri's 114 counties have a campaign.
The program coming to Moniteau County was the result of Mesey's participation in December 2016, when a surplus of toys donated to Cole County were shared with the Cargill Cares Food Pantry.
"That was the best Christmas I've had in 70 years," Mesey said. "When I found out Moniteau County doesn't have this program, it upset me."
After that, Mesey volunteered to be the county coordinator, meeting the Toys for Tots program's heavy set of standards.
The national Toys for Tots organization will provide 500 toys, and the Toys R Us corporation provides $2,000 in store credit to each county.
After that, Mesey said, it will be up to local business and individuals to donate money and new-in-the-box toys next month. He assured chamber members 100 percent of Moniteau County donations stay in Moniteau County.
The chamber donated $500 to the start-up program.