On Thursday, March 7, City of Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter and United Way of Southwest Louisiana President and CEO Denise Durel teamed up with Marine Toys for Tots Foundation Vice President of Operations David Cooper to announce a renewed partnership. 

The announcement was made as part of an all-day Christmas in March Community Toy Drive.  

The local Southwest Louisiana Toys for Tots campaign covers residents in Calcasieu, Cameron and Jefferson Davis Parishes. In 2023, the campaign collected 3,125 toys through donations, and with funds collected through fundraising, distributed 8,183 toys to 1,952 children. This renewed partnership aims to help even more children.

“The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is excited to join with the great City of Lake Charles to continue helping children in need here in your community,” said David Cooper, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation Vice President. “For 76-years, Toys for Tots’ goal is to bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to our Nation’s greatest resource – our children. The partnership with the City of Lake Charles will increase our volunteers’ resources in Calcasieu Parish so that we can assist a lot more children!” 

“What an exciting day for our community! It may seem a bit early to be thinking about Christmas, but we have our sights set on helping thousands of local children this holiday season and that won’t happen overnight,” added Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter. “We are thrilled to partner with the United Way of Southwest Louisiana and Toys for Tots. This partnership means expanded capacity for helping as many families as possible experience a very Merry Christmas.” 

The United Way of Southwest Louisiana provided volunteer support for the community toy drive and is gearing up to assist with the fundraising and registration process later in the year. 

"Our partnership with the City of Lake Charles to support Toys for Tots will be incredibly meaningful to area families with children, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet,” said Denise Durel, President and CEO of United Way of Southwest Louisiana. “Providing toys and gifts to these families brings joy to the children and helps alleviate some of the financial burdens their parents may be facing during the holiday season. It's powerful to help others in our community and make a positive difference in their lives." 

Additional opportunities for toy donations will be held throughout the year, including a Partners in Parks Christmas in July event, now in the planning stages. 

Businesses or citizens looking to make a financial contribution to the local Southwest Louisiana Campaign can do so by visiting https://unitedwayswla.org/toys or texting “T4T” to 91999. 

Funds raised will be used to purchase additional toys for the Saturday, December 21, 2024, distribution date. The toy distribution will be held at the Lake Charles Event Center and volunteers are needed to assist with this event. More information on how to sign up to volunteer is available at https://southwest-la.toysfortots.org. Registration for the distribution event will begin mid-October, but residents can call 211 now to learn more about Toys for Tots and other assistance programs currently available.


For more information on the local campaign, call (337) 764-6841, email southwest.la@toysfortots.org or visit https://southwest-la.toysfortots.org.