When retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Roger Ryman noticed that the Toys for Tots barrels located at the gates to Castle Pines and the country club at Christmastime each year had disappeared, he decided to do something about it.

Ryman contacted the Toys for Tots representative in downtown Denver to arrange for barrels to be delivered to Castle Pines, where toys will be collected now until December 10.

“Donna (Ryman’s wife) and I have lived in Castle Pines for 27 years, and it will be nice to see this effort revitalized,” said Ryman, who with friend Rob Brooks, is organizing the drive.

Louie Lee, a realtor with the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, will collect the toys and deliver them to Toys for Tots’ central warehouse.

The Castle Pines drive will help ensure that the program doesn’t fall short of the toys it needs to meet requests as it was in danger of doing last in 2016. Last year, when Denver-area Toys for Tots program told the media it had requests for 100,000 toys but was only able to fill 10,000, the community came out in force to ensure those Christmas wishes were granted. An anonymous donor with Mattel contributed 50,000 toys, and Denver area Chick-fil-A stores organized a drive that collected 3,000 toys.

The drop-off locations are:

  • Ryman’s home at 4214 Morningstar Drive, Castle Pines Village
  • Brooks’ home, 2920 Cliffside Court, Castle Pines Village
  • South Metro Fire Rescue Station 39, 475 W. Happy Canyon Road, Castle Pines Village

Toys for Tots, a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve charitable program that’s been around for 70 years, provides toys to disadvantaged children. Founded in Los Angeles, it collected 5,000 toys during its first campaign before Christmas 1947. The first toy was a handmade doll.

Over the years, celebrities ranging from musicians Nat King Cole, Glenn Campbell and Frank Sinatra to comedians Bob Hope and Flip Wilson have been involved in the program. The Marines have even named a few celebrities as honorary chairpersons of the campaign, including singer/songwriter Billy Ray Cyrus, actress Barbara Eden and astronaut John Glenn. Even cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny, Dennis the Menace and Sylvester the Cat have gotten in on the act.