Operation Toy Train, a New Jersey nonprofit whose holiday train has been collecting donations for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Toys Foundation for 15 years, is gearing up for its biggest weekend yet with 10 stops in northern New Jersey planned on Saturday, plus five more in New York on Sunday.
Members of the public are encouraged to visit the train at any of its stops to donate new unwrapped toys in their original packaging. Attendees at each stop can also participate in on-site activities sponsored by towns and local businesses, meet Santa, view a variety of historic railroad equipment, and meet members of the Marine Corps and Operation Toy Train.
Since the train began its 2023 toy collection journey on Nov. 12 it has made more than 20 weekend stops along freight tracks in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. The train will operate over 200 miles across seven railroads at 36 locations in four states before its journey ends on Dec. 16.
Operation Toy Train has set a goal to collect more than 30,000 toys from individuals and businesses this holiday season. In addition to using its own specialized railroad equipment, Operation Toy Train partners with several local railroads and nonprofit organizations that generously donate their railcars, personnel, and time to operate the train.
On Saturday, Dec. 9, the train will make the first stop of the day at 9 a.m. in Bergen County on the freight tracks that run next to the CVS at 150 Rochelle Ave., Rochelle Park, where there is on-site parking available. To view the complete train schedule, which includes locations, addresses and arrival and departure times at all stops, go here.
For those unable to make it to one of the train’s stops, local businesses and organizational partners near each stop have received large Toys for Tots collection boxes where they can collect toy donations in advance and deliver them to the train. After the toys are delivered to the Marines, they are redistributed as holiday gifts to underprivileged and less-fortunate children in the communities where the campaigns are conducted.
Businesses, organizations, and individuals looking to sponsor, donate to, or participate in Operation Toy Train are also encouraged to visit the website at www.OperationToyTrain.org or contact the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to get involved.
Operation Toy Train is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and all financial donations are tax-deductible. Funds are used to support the organization’s toy collection operations and the maintenance and upkeep of its specialized railroad equipment.
Photo Caption: Donated gifts for underprivileged children are loaded onto Operation Toy Train at a stop in Midland Park in 2019. – Photo courtesy of Angeline Li, Operation Toy Train.