KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
The local Air Force Sergeants Association chapter is collecting holiday gifts for patients at the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital.
The toy drive runs through Nov. 30. AFSA needs gifts for kids from infants to age 18.
“We want to give back to the community,” said toy drive organizer Staff Sgt. Kevin Delong.
Having been located near an orphanage at a previous duty station, Delong wanted to support children. Being hospitalized over the holidays isn’t much fun for the young patients, so he wants to “give them that hope while they’re in the hospital that everything’s going to be all right and people are thinking about them.”
He also wants to show the community that the military cares and wants to help.
Delong is looking for a contact person for every squadron on Kirtland Air Force Base to get a collection box at every squadron’s location. AFSA also has drop-off boxes at the main entrance of the Base Exchange, inside the Gibson Child Development Center and at front entrance of the Consolidated Support Building.
People who don’t want to leave donations in a box can contact Delong to arrange to give toys directly to him.
Gifts must be new and unwrapped, but there’s no required price range. Toy weapons aren’t allowed.
“We’d like to try to get as much as we can — I don’t have a set goal — just so we can give something back,” Delong said. This is the first toy drive for AFSA Chapter 1201.
“Chapter 1201 is proud and honored to be working with New Mexico children’s hospital, and we appreciate the continued support of Team Kirtland,” said chapter Vice President Master Sgt. David Graham.
Depending on how it goes, Delong would like to make the drive an annual event or help out with the children’s hospital’s “Christmas in July” toy collection.
For questions or to arrange toy drop-off, contact Delong at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-651-7774.