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COUNTYWIDE : Donations of Toys Sought for the Poor

A group of flying doctors from Liga International are seeking donations of new and used toys to take Friday to poor children in Mexico.

In addition to medical care and supplies, the group last year brought Christmas toys, donated by the Marines’ Toys for Tots program, and a Santa Claus to distribute them to the hundreds of children who are usually waiting in lines outside clinics for the doctors’ monthly visits.

“For the last month, they’ve been asking me, ‘Is Santa coming, is Santa coming?’ I say, ‘Yes, he’s coming,’ ” said Marie Riley, a nurse from Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, who accompanies the doctors.

However, donations to Toys for Tots are reportedly down this year, and Riley has received no toys so far. “This is the problem: Time is so short.”

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Anyone willing to donate new or used toys should call Riley at (714) 548-1241 to arrange for a pickup or drop the toys off at Riley’s home, 890 W. 15th St., No. 96, Newport Beach, Calif. 92663.

The doctors, known as the Flying Doctors of Mercy, depart in as many as 25 planes on the first Friday of each month from different cities in the Southwest and arrive in Guaymas, Mexico. From there, they fly to clinics in Choix, El Fuerte, San Blas and Occoroni.

At the El Fuerte clinic which Riley organizes, anywhere from 300 to 500 people are usually awaiting their arrival, she said.


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