Murphy Insurance Agency is proud to be collecting toys for Toys for Tots this holiday season and reaching out to the community for support to help kids and families in need.

Children are one of our nation's most valuable resources. Consequently, it's a distressing reality that approximately 13 million America children live in poverty. Studies show that growing up in poverty can have an adverse psychological impact on a child. Positive mentoring is one way to help children in financially challenging situations to succeed in life, but not all kids have access to formal programs. This makes alternative efforts that demonstrate positive role models essential.

The Marines' Toys for Toys program is a form of passive mentoring that can help. The new toys distributed to millions of children through Toys for Tots delivers a message of hope, and the Marines who deliver them are excellent role models.

"We know that most people want to make a difference, but, with hectic lives, the challenge is figuring out how to help." said Wayne Texeira, Murphy Insurance Agency marketing director. "Toys for Tots is a simple way for even the busiest person to get involved. By simply donating a toy, you are helping children in our community and participating in a nationwide effort. It's an easy way to be a participator, not a spectator."

Donations of new, unwrapped toys are needed for children ages newborn to 12 years. Toys are especially needed for the older children. "Our goal is to make it easy for people to participate with seven convenient drop-off locations," said Texeira. "Last year, we collected over 700 toys through the generosity of our staff, customers and the general public. We also were particularly excited to have several organizations conduct mini-toy drives and use us as their drop-off point. We encourage that again."

"And, this year Murphy Insurance is adding a new element to their drive by pledging to donate $1 for each new 'Like' that the Agency receives on its Facebook page by Dec. 13, up to $500," he said. "All someone has to do is visit facebook.com/murphyinsurance and Like our page. We hope to get lots of toys and Likes to make it a very successful drive."

Donations can be made at Murphy Insurance location in Bolton, Groton, Harvard, Hudson, Marlborough, Mendon and Medway. For Toys for Tots gift guidelines and location directions, visit dfmurphy.com/toys. Deadline for donations is Dec. 12.