Operation Toy Train, will once again be running a toy collection train to benefit the Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots Foundation. Since starting the train in 2009, their group of dedicated volunteers has now expanded the collection to be a 36-stop, 4-state endeavor for 2023.
Carolyn Hoffman is the President of Operation Toy Train and she joined Jim Monaghan on Jersey Magazine to talk about the organization and the plans for this year.
For the fifteenth holiday season in a row, local nonprofit Operation Toy Train will roll out its special train to collect toy donations for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation and benefit underprivileged children. This year’s train schedule includes brand new stops in western Connecticut, eastern Pennsylvania, and southern New Jersey, adding to the longstanding operations in northern New
Jersey and southern New York. From November to December, the train aims to collect over 30,000 toys from 36 locations across four states.
In addition to using its own specialized railroad equipment, Operation Toy Train partners with several local railroads and non-profit organizations that generously donate their railcars, personnel, and time to operate the train. This year, the collection train will operate over 200 miles across seven railroads and four states between Nov. 12 and Dec. 16, including three stationary events. The full schedule is available at www.OperationToyTrain.org/schedule.
Members of the public are encouraged to visit the train at any of its stops to donate new toys in their original packaging (no gift wrapping, please!). Attendees at each stop can also participate in on-site activities sponsored by the towns and local businesses, meet Santa Claus, view a variety of historic railroad equipment, and meet members of the Marine Corps and the Operation Toy Train program. For those that can’t make it to one of the train’s stops, local businesses and organizational partners near each stop have received large Toys for Tots collection boxes where they can collect toy donations in advance and deliver them to the train.
After the toys are delivered to the Marines, they are redistributed as holiday gifts to underprivileged and less-fortunate children in the communities where the campaigns are conducted.