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Toys for Tots, Sun Santa Application Periods Open This Week

Families in need of help this holiday season can get assistance from CTI — but don’t delay

If you need help with Christmas gifts for children up to age 16, please make sure to get an application in this week. And if you would like to donate to Sun Santa or Toys for Tots, here’s how to do so easily.

Sun Santa applications are accepted from Oct. 30 through Nov. 6. For 2023, the Sun Santa Fund will work with Community Teamwork Inc. and The Salvation Army. All applications for assistance will be conducted by these agencies and will be online only, with no in-person application sessions.

Toy vouchers are available for eligible children through age 16 residing in Lowell, Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro and Westford. Parents or guardians will need to provide full names and dates of birth for each child under age 16. While no hard copy/uploaded documents will be required, guardianship papers are to be uploaded under the Birth Certificate tab. Other applicants going through CTI will self-certify their information

Only one person for each family should apply, and only through one agency. Starting tomorrow, Oct. 30, visit the CTI website or the direct Sun Santa link. If you need help with your application, contact Ann Sirois at CTI at 978-654-7142 or at

If you would like to donate to the Sun Santa Fund, visit the website here. In 2022, the fund raised $228,000 and made sure more than 3,200 children from 1,400 families opened presents from Santa on Christmas Day.

Toys for Tots applications are open Nov. 1 to Nov. 8, also through CTI. Children up to age 12 are eligible. Be prepared to provide contact information for the parents/guardians and the names, ages and genders of each child.

To apply via CTI, families can go to the CTI website and watch for the popup or visit the CTI Toys for Tots application site. If you need help with your application, contact Gladys Santiago at CTI at 978-654-5673 or

The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December and distributes those toys to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. In 2022, the Middlesex & Essex Counties Toys for Tots group distributed 120,527 toys to 80,172 children.

If you would like to donate to Toys for Tots, check out the website maintained by the Defensive Cyber Operations Internal Defensive Measures Company B at Devens. There will also be drop boxes around town, usually at Tewksbury Fire Department stations. The group especially needs toys for kids 0-2 and 6-12 years old.

New this year, you can go online through Dec. 4 and click on SHOP NOW to purchase the goods you would like to donate. You will be emailed a tax receipt at the time of purchase. All goods ordered online will be shipped directly to the Devens Toys for Tots for distribution.

If you miss these application deadlines and need assistance, the Tewksbury Public Schools and other town groups sponsor toy drives and giving trees.

Is your local group planning a toy drive? Let the Carnation know and we’ll add it to our Community Calendar.

Lorna is a U.S. Army veteran and 25-year resident of Tewksbury who has written for organizations ranging from the DIA to InformationWeek to a free weekly in New London that sent her to interview the pastry chef at Foxwoods.

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