Toys for Tots benefit rings bells

Christopher Boudreaux
October 30, 2008
Robert "Bob" Gobeil
November 3, 2008

The Marine Corps League and Mid-South Wrestling Entertainment are teaming up to give Terrebonne Parish kids a merry Christmas.

For the seventh straight year, MSWE will put on a fundraiser show to benefit the league’s Toys for Tots program.

The event is Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Bayou Blue Recreation Center, 200 Mazerac St., in Houma.

Doors open at 6 p.m., and matches begin at 7 p.m.

Admission is a $5 cash donation at the door. All proceeds go to Toys for Tots.

“Some of these wrestlers drive a long way and give up their time to do this show so the Marine Corps can collect all the money,” said Joseph Malbourgh, owner of MSWE.

Stars scheduled to appear include, Kevin Northcutt, Marty Graw, Terry Bryant, Half Breed, Da Bayou Boys and Blake Christopher.

Before doing the wrestling benefit, the Marine Corps League tried different fundraising events for Toy for Tots without much success.

“We had a band extravaganza that didn’t work, and we did other things that didn’t pan out,” said Eldridge Klibert, who has run the Toys for Tots program for nine years as coordinator of the Marine Corps Reserves in Terrebonne Parish.

In years past, the wrestling show has raised between $1,200 and $1,500 dollars.

“We’re going to raffle off a boy’s and girl’s bike, and we have gift certificates from restaurants and other things that are given away as a door prizes,” Marlbourgh said.

Toy donations will not be accepted. Marine Corps League rules only permit the group to give away new toys.

“When we started this, we would tell the people if you brought in at least a $5 toy you could come into the show,” Klibert said. “Then people started showing up with old beat up toys, and I said, ‘No, we’re not going to do this anymore.'”

For a kid to receive toys from the program, he or she must be 12 years old or under and their parent must register them with a MCL assistant coordinator in Pointe-Aux-Chenes, Montegut, Chauvin or Houma.

A list is compiled in the beginning of December, and the MCL fills the order through its national headquarters in Quanaco, Va.

“We’ll call our assistant coordinators and say the order is ready. It will come in a couple of trucks,” Klibert said. “We bring the toys to, say, the fire station in Montegut. Then they will notify the recipients that the toys will be given out on a certain date.”

Children are always happy to get new toys, but Klibert said it is particularly important in years like this when hurricanes have wrecked havoc on their young lives.

“I told Quanaco we had more storms this year, and we had a lot of houses that were devastated, especially in the southern part of the parish,” he said. “Quanaco has helped us over the years when we had these storms. They will send us as many truckloads of toys as they can afford at no cost.”

In addition to aid the national office, Toys R Us is giving the local MCL a $1,500 gift certificate to buy toys at its store.

“We try to give each kid at least two good toys,” Klibert said. “We can’t afford to pay more than about $10 for a toy. So we give a lot of football, basketballs, and soccer balls.”

For the Marine Corps League and the wrestlers involved, their reward is knowing somewhere in Terrebonne Parish, a child will have something to smile about come Dec. 25.

For information about getting on the toy recipient list, call Eldridge Klibert at (985) 853-0614 or the Marine Corps League at (985) 876-7971.