DALLAS - The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program collects and distributes millions of toys to deserving children each year during the holiday season. During this pandemic, the organization decided it didn’t want to wait until the holidays to provide support.
It’s an unprecedented move for Toys for Tots, which has always been known a Christmas-time charity. During the December holidays, the organization distributes an average of 18 million toys to 7 million less fortunate children.
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But the COVID-19 crisis presents a unique situation. Millions of children are at home combatting boredom and facing anxiety while their parents try to find the funds for the essentials.
Toys for Tots plans to distribute about 2 million toys, games and books right now to families in North Texas.
The warehouses that fill up during the holidays each year are semi-stocked still. So Toys for Tots has partnered with Good360 to help distribute toys and joy even though it’s only April.
“We decided to take our carry-over inventory that we were saving for next Christmas and distribute through them to less fortunate children to again lessen the anxiety, give them hope and bring a smile to their face during this crisis,” said Lt. Gen. Jim Laster, the president of Toys for Tots.
The organization said this is not a call for donations. Organizers do not want people to make a trip to the store to buy a new toy for the program. The toys are already in stock or are being donated by program partners.
People can still help with a monitory donation online or consider donating extra to Toys for Tots in the fall.
The harsh reality is that with the mass unemployment due to the coronavirus, the need for the Toys for Tots program in December might be the greatest the organization has ever seen.