As they reflected on this year's Toys for Tots program, coordinators Dave and Pat Wyble said they were pleasantly surprised by the results.
"The community at large was very generous," Dave Wyble said. "The last week (of the program), the toys came flying in."
Wyble said they helped 505 families in Carson City, 111 in Douglas County and 55 families in Mound House and Dayton.
A cell phone line was set up courtesy of Cingular for the days of Dec. 5-9. Calls were actually taken for 13 days, several days before and after the specified days.
Taking most of the phone calls was Ada DeZerga. DeZerga asked the caller for basic information such as name, address and if the caller was the child's parent, and were they residents of Carson City, Douglas or Lyon counties.
"I did ask if they were receiving county assistance," DeZerga said. "That is automatic qualification. But we don't ask intrusive questions."
If the caller does not receive assistance, they must explain how they qualify.
"We had five callers who made too much money," DeZerga said. "It's difficult for them to understand the program is for low-income. They felt they were justified to receive toys because of the cost of living.
"They said that after they paid their bills, they couldn't afford toys. One woman was way off the charts.
"It's unfortunate a handful of people would ruin the program for those who really need it. But they didn't affect the success of it this year. I would hate to see something like this ruined by a few greedy people."
DeZerga said she's helped with the program two years now and has worked with nonprofits more than 20 years. She will volunteer again.
"I was disappointed I would miss the actual distribution," she said. "I would have liked to see the families I helped.
The Wybles said there were only a few who tried to "double-dip" from their program and others.
"We buckled down more this year," Pat Wyble said. "In both screening and handing out the toys. The person who called had to be the person to pick up the toys - a parent or guardian of the child. It works out better that way."
"There are a few greedy people out there who went to other agencies then came to us," Dave said. "But we were ready for them.
"And we did make exceptions for extraordinary circumstances."
"And we always have exceptions," Pat added.
The Wybles give special credit to Snap-On, Carson City Toyota/Mazda, Casino Fandango, Applebee's, Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Grocery Outlet and the Carson City Library.
The Wybles also mentioned a big misconception on the part of some of the callers is that everyone who assists in the Toys for Tots program is a paid to work.
"No one gets paid," Dave said. "We're all volunteers and do this because we want to. And we have no hesitation to do this again next year."
"Ninety-nine percent of the people were great," Pat added. "We had no problems with them."
Dave Wyble said they gave toys to The Salvation Army and other nonprofits in Carson City and South Lake Tahoe.
-- Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1223.