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Toys for Tots program short on toy donations due to pandemic

Published: Nov. 29, 2020 at 4:57 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The U.S. Marines help brighten the holidays for less fortunate children at Christmas with their annual Toys for Tots program, but this year could be one of the most challenging.

“We do know for sure a lot more folks are seeking help,” said retired Col. Ted Silvester, national vice-president for Toys for Tots.

This year’s campaign is already two million toys short, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We knew there was a lot of hurt, a lot of angst out there. So we didn’t want to wait another eight or so months before the holiday,” Silvester said. “So, we distributed those two million toys to COVID impacted families in the spring and summer.”

Silvester also said that fewer collection boxes were scattered throughout the nation this year due to the limited activity in stores and people who are reluctant to go out in public to shop.

People are encouraged to donate online as a way to help if they are nervous about dropping off presents in person.

Toys for Tots has collected around 34,000 toys each of the last couple of years in Alaska. They reached about 30,000 children. Nationally, the Marines distributed nearly 19 million toys to almost 7.5 million children in 2019.

“It’s a little rewarding knowing the Marines Corps’ Toys for Tots program can preserve the magic of Christmas, as well as the magic of Santa,” Silvester said.

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