Last-minute push for Toys for Tots
As Christmas nears, Toys for Tots Director Joyce Buckingham is watching her supplies dwindle.
“At this point, we’re almost out of toys,” said Buckingham, who also serves as the executive director of the Ron Wood Family Resource Center. “We’re staying ahead of the wolves, but we really need to send a plea out to the community that, if they can, please help.”
She said that last year, the organization provided toys to more than 5,200 needy children in the community.
“This year, we’ve already hit that mark,” she said.
There are about 500 families still left waiting for gifts, she said, which could mean up to 1,600 children. She said as soon as deliveries are coming in from collection points, they are being bagged up and sent to families, leaving very little in the organization’s warehouse.
“I’ve got a pit in my stomach,” she said.
She said the economy is hitting families harder this year than they’ve ever been hit.
“We’re having people ask for help who’ve never asked for help before,” she said. “The hotlines are going crazy.”
Although struggling to keep up with the demand, Buckingham encouraged families in need to still call the hotline for help.
“We’re going to do our very best to be sure every child out there has something for Christmas,” she said. “I’m not going to give up. We’re going to keep driving all the way up to Christmas Eve.”
New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at any of 60 collection points throughout the area.
Marines also will be out this weekend from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at both Walmarts collecting toys.
To receive help this holiday season, call the hotline at 884-TOYS from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.