WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Mohegan Sun Arena and the U.S. Marine Corps are teaming up to collect Christmas gifts for needy children and offering the public a chance to enjoy an evening of ice skating at the same time.
The arena will host its annual Open Skate for Toys for Tots on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. People usually donate $5 or more or bring a new, unwrapped toy.
Guests will be required to bring their own skates.
If they do not have their own, they can rent a pair from Toyota SportsPlex on Coal Street, the practice facility for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey team. Skates can be rented starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday for $3 per pair.
Steve Poremba, director of sales and marketing at Mohegan Sun Arena, estimated that at least 150 to 200 toys have been collected at the event in the past.
“I’ve seen them load tons of toys into their truck,” he said, referring to Marine Corps members who volunteer for Toys for Tots.
Twenty to 30 arena staff members will also be volunteering for the evening. Mohegan Sun entered into this partnership with the Marine Corps 14 years ago.
“Toys for Tots was a cause that is near and dear to our heart and still is,” Poremba said.
Each guest will also be given two free raffle tickets upon entry, and they can purchase additional tickets. Fifteen different raffle prizes will be available, including tickets to upcoming events at the arena.
The Penguins mascot, Tux, will also be making an appearance on the ice rink from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.