Story by Public Affairs Office, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport  

For the second consecutive year, employees of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport collected toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots campaign, gathering 972 gifts for children in need. Although many employees have been teleworking because of the pandemic, it was a very successful toy drive that almost doubled last year’s toy collection.

Each year, Toys for Tots relies on local businesses and communities to support their goal to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute them to less fortunate children in the community. The campaign aims to provide three to four toys for each child in a family that has applied to the program.

NUWC Division Newport Toys for Tots coordinator Patricia Tavares said participating in the program is an important way for NUWC Division Newport employees to give back to the community.

“Collecting 972 toys means we put a smile on the face of approximately 243 children for the holidays,” Tavares said. “This year has been full of struggles for so many. I could not wait to pick up the boxes and start organizing this year’s event. It is such a great way for us to give back to the community. For me, this is what the holidays are all about! It’s the season of giving.”

A bag of toys was donated in memory of Amy Burgo, a Division Newport employee who passed away in June. Along with board games, sports equipment and stuffed animals, two bikes were donated to the drive.

Toys for Tots at Division Newport requires organizing volunteers and collection sites, obtaining collection boxes from the Marines and getting them placed throughout the 190-acre campus. Employees also had the option to donate on line and at local donation boxes, although those donations did not count towards Division Newport’s total of toys collected.

Volunteers from the Corporate Operations Department, who assisted Tavares, include Bob Darley, Paulo Furtado, Sam Lloyd, Noah Aragao, Mark Carter, Doug Gilmore, Tim Post, Slade Sylvestre, Rob Davis, Mark Jasper, C.J. McDonald and Liz Gilmore.

“I could not have done this without the assistance of my awesome co-workers and the support of management,” Tavares said. “I am amazed at how many toys we collected this year. I was hoping to beat last year’s collection total and we sure did, almost double. I will continue this wonderful tradition as long as I am working at Division Newport. Thank you to all who donated.”

For more information on how to donate toys to children in need, visit the Toys for Tots Foundation website at www.toysfortots.org.

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