EUGENE, Ore. -- All the hard work of thousands of volunteers and generous community members came together on Saturday and Sunday as Toys for Tots held their annual toy distribution event.
The charity helps make it possible for parents in need to give more to their children during the Christmas season.
“This year I wasn't able to get a lot for my kids and I think it's a great organization. Especially for families who can't afford to get stuff,” said Rachal Ball, a mother of two children. “It's helped my because honestly i was only able to get one thing for each of my kids. I've been struggling financially so doing this has been great.”
Many parents like Ball often feel the financial strain that accompanies the holiday season. That is where the toy drive, assisted by the U.S. Marines, steps in to lend a helping hand.
“It's really good to see their faces light up when they find that toy their child was wanting or would love... And it makes it all worth it,” said Corporal Bradley Kaye of the U.S. Marines.
The Marines at Toys for Tots have been collecting unwrapped toys since September for this weekends big giveaway. Corporal Kaye said that this year the charity has collected about 40,000 toys.
The toys are placed in bundles for each child and come complete with stocking stuffers, books, and Legos.
“I was able to pick out a lot of good stuff that i know my children would love,” said Ball.
For the first year ever the Marines held a raffle to send 85 bicycles home for parents to put under the tree.
Sarah Wheeler, a mother at the drive on Sunday, said that she feels blessed to have the opportunity to give her children a good Christmas.
“Every year these amazing people take time our of their lives to offer smiles to children,” said Wheeler. “They will never know and relief to us parents who are struggling and many unable to provide any Christmas of their own.”
Officials with Toys for Tots said that they plan to give any extra toys to other programs in the community, as well as store away for next year.
For more information about how you can help out toys for Tots, visit their website.