Santa’s little helper this year, and many before, is Norm Stitzel.
Stitzel might not have a sleigh, but he runs a toy warehouse, and gets sacks of gifts to the homes of children in Cortland County through Toys for Tots.
And you have just a couple more days to help him. The 65 to 80 collection boxes scattered across the greater Cortland area will be picked up Monday.
At the Cortland County Clerk’s Office on Thursday, two tall cardboard boxes were stuffed to the top — and two filing boxes were pressed into service for the extra gifts.
That’s typical for what the office collects each year, said Deputy Clerk Brooke Kemak.
“We generally have two full and overflow,” she said.
Toys for Tots gives toys to between 1,100 to 1,200 children every year, said Stitzel, a retired Marine and organizer for the Cortland County chapter of Toys for Tots.
“We’re on track for that right now,” Stitzel said, but the final tally won’t be in until the final toy give-away Wednesday night.
Each child gets a big toy, a small toy, a book and a stocking stuffer, Stitzel said. Parents selected for Toys for Tots stop in at the Riverside Plaza warehouse where volunteers help them shop. The toys go into black sacks so no little eyes can see.
For some of the children, the gifts bolster the slender stock of gifts their parents can buy, Stitzel said. “There’s some kids out there, what they get from us is all they’re going to get,” he said.
Donations range from toys for infants to gifts for high school seniors, Stitzel said. There are enough bikes for every kid to get a crack at one, but if parents choose the ride, they skip the big and small toys.
While the toy boxes are heading to the toy warehouse Monday, Toys for Tots accepts toy and money donations throughout the year, Stitzel said. Some donors take advantage of the post-Christmas sales to help the charity stock up for next year.
Monetary gifts can be made at tinyurl.com/2p8a2eak or mailed to P.O. 5113 Cortland, N.Y. 13045.
Find a Toys for Tots box
- Suit Kote — Preble and Cortland
- Anderson Market
- New Hope Farms —Little York
- Homer Intermediate/Junior High
- First National Bank of Dryden — Homer/Cortlandville
- Key Bank — Homer/Cortland
- Homer Police Department
- Homer Legion
- Homer Center for the Arts
- Homer Elks
- Farm Credit —Homer
- CNY Living History Museum
- Albany International
- Sons Of Sam Motorcycle Club
- Cortland Family Practice
- Cortland Park-Adult Care
- Faith Baptist Church
- Country Music Park
- Advance Auto — Pomeroy Street
- Cazenovia Equipment
- Pit Stop —Polkville
- Hartley’s Auto
- Crown Park
- CFCU — Port Watson Street and Tops Plaza
- Cortland County Office Building
- Cortland County Sheriff’s Office
- Cortland County Courthouse
- Access to Independence
- Bailey Place Insurance
- Edward Jones — Main Street, Cortland
- Tompkins Trust
- NBT Bank — Main Street and Groton Avenue
- Cortland Career Works
- Veterans of Foreign Wars
- Disabled American Veterans — Owego Street
- Kinney Drugs — Route 281
- Oshea Tire & Auto
- Royal Auto & Nissan
- Kellog Auto
- Summit Credit Union
- Walgreens — Route 281
- Tallmadge Tire
- Alumni House
- SUNY Cortland Police Department
- DHL Properties
- Trinkets & More — Main Street Cortland, 43 James St., Homer