CSU collects 795 toys in first annual Toys for Tots campaign

Samantha Ye

The CSU community donated about 20 full boxes of toys and games to the first annual campus-wide Toys for Tots campaign, according to Janet Mabon, who planned, coordinator and ran the toy drive. (Photos courtesy of Janet Mabon)

Colorado State University’s first annual Toys for Tots campaign brought in nearly 800 toys for children in Larimer County, according to event coordinator Janet Mabon.

The 795 toys—which included sports equipment, board games, Legos, Hot Wheels, stuffed animals and dolls—were distributed to various charities, non-profits and governmental agencies over the holiday season.

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“I felt the drive was a huge success for the first year!” Mabon wrote in an email to the Collegian. “We had about 20 full donation boxes, which almost filled the entire floor of the donated box truck from Facilities!”

The United States Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys and distributes them as gifts to less fortunate children in local communities, according to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation’s official website,

Mabon, who began working as CSU’s fiscal and budget coordinator in October, said she was surprised there was not a campus-wide drive in place for Toys for Tots. Mabon decided to start an annual drive at CSU, having found the toy drive a wonderful event when she hosted a donation box at her previous employer in Arizona.

“I also did this to honor my father’s memory since he loved working with and supporting kids and fulfill wishes from my family members who said they would rather I donate to Toys for Tots than get them any gifts,” Mabon wrote. “So, coordinating and running the CSU toy drives, for me is a gift to them and their memory as well.”

To host a box for next year’s toy drive, contact Mabon at janet.mabon@colostate.edu.

Mabon began placing donation boxes with the help of her daughter Nov. 17 at various campus locations she had selected, including at least one box at each of the perimeter campuses. In the end, there were 31 box locations total.

Each donation box requires a host who keeps the box in a secure location and forwards reminders and other communications about the drive to faculty, staff, and student organizations within their building.

From Dec. 18-21, boxes were collected by Mabon, her husband and Chad Alexander, manager of Facilities at the Vet Hospital, and delivered to the Larimer County Toys for Tots warehouse in Loveland.

Various charity representatives, the Larimer County co-coordinator, Deb Cross, and the Santa Cops handled toy distribution and delivery.

All toys and monetary donations collected in the Larimer County Toys for Tots campaign go to children in Larimer County.

Any toys not delivered over the holiday season will be distributed throughout the year as charities, non-profits, and governmental agencies need them. Some may also be delivered in early December, prior to the 2018 donation boxes being delivered to the warehouse.

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Mabon said she hopes to expand the next toy drive to cover more buildings on the main campus and perhaps the Foothills campus, assuming the Larimer County co-coordinator can handle the extra volume.

“CSU is an amazing place with such wonderful people with such big, generous hearts!” Mabon wrote. “I can’t express enough how proud I am to be part of the CSU community.”

Collegian reporter Samantha Ye can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @samxye4.