Shiawassee County Toys for Tots Launches 2021 Program

The Independent - by Karen Mead-Elford, editor

October 10, 2021

THE 2021 TOYS FOR TOTS CAMPAIGN is underway. A public event is planned at Joe Lee’s at the Owosso Airport for Saturday, Oct. 9. People are welcome to drop off new toys or donations starting at 11 a.m. All of the toys and proceeds will remain within Shiawassee County and fully be used in support of Toys for Tots.

Gathered is (from left) Toys for Tots Coordinator Lance Gilmore, Toys for Tots Ambassador and Tango3 CEO Gerald Alcorn and Joe-Lee’s Crosswind Café co-owner Lee Ann French. Along with Gilmore and Alcorn, French is a dedicated supporter of Toys for Tots. Alcorn recently addressed the further development of the nonprofit Tango3 platform, launched in 2020 – and also his deep commitment to Toys for Tots to “facilitate good.” Alcorn has a life philosophy to utilize time, talent and/or treasure in helping others. He believes everyone has at least one of these “gifts” and are able to contribute toward making the world a bit better.

Gerald Alcorn – acting ambassador for the 2021 Shiawassee County Toys for Tots program – is also CEO of Tango3, a nonprofit organization focused on utilizing Time, Talent and Treasure, as the name suggests, to further good in the world. Alcorn was the longtime coordinator behind Toys for Tots (Marine Corps League Harold R. Cooley Detachment 841) in the county and is also a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

In 2020, through Tango3, Alcorn launched a new jerky brand to assist with the mental health needs of veterans. Tango3 has since evolved under Alcorn’s entrepreneurship, to become an umbrella-styled platform to vet out and support nonprofit groups with plans addressing critical problems in the modern world. Alcorn has spent much of his adult life working with nonprofit groups including the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program in the county, Kiwanis, American Red Cross and veterans groups.

He fully embraces the idea that everyone is capable of giving of their Time, Talent and/or Treasure to help others, seeing the philosophy as a moral path of duty for himself. The Time, Talent and Treasure concept goes back a long ways with Alcorn. He has often explained he thinks that people everywhere have gifts of time, talent and/or treasure and they should “look around the world and there are always people substantially worse off than you.”

One example he uses is Toys for Tots. In giving a toy to a child, that toy might become a symbol for that person to reflect on in future years, possibly offering a window of opportunity for them to grow and become someone who in turn gives back of themselves. A little (or a lot) of time, talent or treasure can change a persons life, becoming a point of inspiration for them to possibly better their lives.

“If everyone would make an effort to offer a little time, talent or treasure, the world would be a better place,” Alcorn shared.

The roots of Tango3 began with a conversation with a colleague on building successful platforms for hospitals and universities to “drive better patient outcomes” when Alcorn realized the need for a stronger platform “adapted for suicide prevention and other mental health programs for veterans.”

Many months later, Alcorn met with the owners of Dove Creek Wagyu Cattle Company, breeders of extremely high-end Japanese Akaushi Wagyu beef, with the idea of making a jerky product from the trim pieces with proceeds slated for vetted veteran programs/suicide prevention. With the creation of the jerky, Alcorn formed Tango3 as a nonprofit.

Notably, Alcorn remains involved with Toys for Tots, too, acting as the 2021 program ambassador. The county coordinator is now Lance Gilmore – and like most nonprofits, it takes numerous volunteers and participants to make the program work – and volunteers are always welcome and appreciated. The 2021 Shiawassee Toys for Tots planning is well underway. A Charity Run event to kick-off the new season is planned at Joe-Lee’s at the Owosso Airport on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 11 a.m. All funds and/or toys will benefit the program and stay in Shiawassee County. The event will include hayrides, raffles, live music, crafts and a stuffed animal drop. Other events and activities will be announced.

For those wishing to donate to the official county Toys for Tots program, please call (989) 720-8487.