Goodyear airships to collect Toys for Tots

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Goodyear airships to collect Toys for Tots

Two of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.'s airship bases will host public events and give away rides on a Goodyear blimp during a campaign to collect donations for the Toys for Tots Foundation.

The Toys for Tots drive inspires a festive, party-like atmosphere in Carson, Calif. Daisy Uribe, operations coordinator for the California airship base, said some visitors simply drive through the base and drop off toys. But because this location treats the event more like an open house, most visitors want to tour the base and visit the airship. They also meet Santa Claus on his sleigh and participate in activities like Zumba. This year food trucks will be on site, Uribe said.

Kristen Arambula, an assistant pilot in charge of the Spirit of America airship, said the employees look forward to this annual event.

"We are super excited to be doing Toys for Tots again," Arambula said. "We try to do a little better with toy collections each year.

"The whole Spirit of America team loves being able to help kids at Christmastime. Every kid deserves some toys fo Christmas. It's also fun decorating our space and getting into the Christmas spirit."

The California event is set for 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 6 and 7. The airship base is located at 19200 S. Main St., Carson, Calif.

The airship base near Akron, Ohio, will conduct its Toys for Tots drive from noon to 10 p.m. on Dec. 5 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 6 and 7. The Ohio event is drive-through only. The public will not be allowed to walk inside the hangar or on the base grounds. The airship base is located at 841 Wingfoot Lake Rd., Suffield, Ohio.

A third airship base, in Pompano Beach, Fla., is hosting a private holiday event this year.

The public is welcome to drive through either the California or Ohio base to enjoy the decorations. Donations are not required.

Goodyear and the U.S. Marines will build on the success of previous open house and drive-through events. Over the past three years, those efforts delivered more than 20,000 toys and $30,000 directly benefitting the Toys for Tots program, the company said.

And this year, for the first time, both Goodyear airship bases are offering 25 lucky entrants a chance to win a ride for two on a blimp. An official entry form into the Goodyear Toys for Tots Blimp Ride Sweepstakes can be obtained either by visiting a participating Goodyear company-owned store in Ohio or a Just Tires store in California or by calling 800-344-9859. The form can be submitted at the event or via mail.

"The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve are grateful to Goodyear for making this event possible again," said retired Marine Major Bill Grein, vice president of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. "With the generous support of this community, there will be thousands of new toys fulfilling the Christmas dreams of less fortunate children who might not otherwise be remembered," he added.

All details are available online at, on the Goodyear Blimp Facebook page and by calling 800-344-9859.

Goodyear first nicknamed one of its blimps the "Santa Claus Express" in 1927 to spread holiday cheer across the skies of America. Goodyear has a long history of charitable giving as well as community involvement, raising millions of dollars for worthy causes including the United Way, Support Our Troops and hundreds of local and national charities through its airship program.

Founded in 1948, it is the mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program to collect only new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December and to distribute these toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.

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