CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and their families and friends are invited to support the Operation Homefront Toy Drive sponsored by Carl Vinson's Second Class Petty Officer Association (SCPOA) through Dec. 12.
Operation Homefront is one of the nation's largest non-profit organizations, dedicated to assisting U.S. service members and their families with emergency aid - such as food, baby care items and financial assistance during times of crisis, and social support during deployments and holiday seasons.
"Operation Homefront will be distributing the toys through the Operation Homefront San Diego Chapter to children in the local area," said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class (Sel) (AW/SW) Cassandra Richards, Carl Vinson's toy drive organizer.
"We wanted to give Sailors an avenue to donate to those who've been through some financial hardships or physical hardships that have amounted in doctor bills or anything like that," said Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class (SW/AW) Joshua Aziz, the SCPOA president and Carl Vinson's 2012 Junior Sailor of the Year. "One thing about our 2nd class petty officers is we're always trying to develop some type of positivity or promote some type of command-wide unity. The Operation Homefront Toy Drive that we are currently sponsoring [is] just another way for us to give back to the community."
Richards said the SCPOA is looking for gifts with a $20 limit for ages one to 18. Gifts are being collected at the ship's entry control point and on the quarterdeck of the Barracks Ship (APL-65) adjacent to Carl Vinson, on Pier Lima, Naval Air Station North Island.
"Board games, cards - [those are] fantastic for older kids," Richards explained. "We're getting a lot of toys for five- to ten-year-olds, [but], older or younger, anything is going to be great."
Aziz and more than 120 SCPOA members are hoping to receive 100% command involvement. We plan to give presents to approximately 200 needy families, so we welcome all the help we receive, he added.
"We want anybody to donate," Aziz said. "Civilians, contractors, Sailors, family members, friends - whoever wants to get involved are more than welcome. We want [the toy drive] to reach as big of a population as possible."
"The support that the SCPOA and command have given to put on this toy drive has been phenomenal," Richards said. "I appreciate everyone's help and we need all the support we can get. Every toy, small or big, makes a difference."
The SCPOA extended the toy drive donation acceptance dates in order to receive as many donations and as much support as possible. Aziz stressed that "any contribution we receive is a plus and will always be counted as a success."
"For every one toy donated, that's one more than what Operation Homefront had to begin with," added Aziz. "It's always going to be a success. It really can't be a failure, especially when you're talking about people donating and being charitable during the holidays."
The cost of the toy is unimportant, Richards added. What you are really purchasing is the happiness of a child and it is rewarding "knowing that somewhere some child is going to wake up and have a Christmas they might otherwise not have had."
For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.