Holiday season wrapping up: Toys for Tots donations alarmingly low

Senior+Sam+Necker+makes+a+trip+to+Walmart+to+gather+toys+for+children+in+need+this+holiday+season.+

Sam Necker

Senior Sam Necker makes a trip to Walmart to gather toys for children in need this holiday season.

Sakshi Lawande, Copy Editor

It is the most wonderful time of the year; with the season comes the joy of children eager to open presents and the joy of parents watching their children’s faces as they open a present they know they will love. 

However, along with this excitement, the holidays come with financial stress and anxiety for many families across the nation. For families struggling to afford basic necessities, non-essentials must take a back burner–and that means many small children must wake up on Christmas to a house with no signs of a visit from St. Nick. 

Instead of parents having to watch with heartbreak as their children wake up to find nothing under the tree, organizations have the opportunity to help provide something for the families without extra gifts around the holidays. 

The Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program is one willing to help supply joy for these struggling families. The program began with one simple mission: to provide a sign of hope for disadvantaged children during the holidays, one toy at a time. 

Over previous years, the organization has obtained great success locally in the Quad Cities. Last year, Toys for Tots supported about 13,000 children in the area and collected almost 40,000 toys to distribute to disadvantaged children. 

With three children of his own, social studies teacher Trevor Zahn understands the source of happiness toys can provide to children. “They use them as a vessel for creativity,” he said. “It not only serves as entertainment, but also as something tangible to bring their creativity to life.”

By playing an active role in the development of one of the nation’s resources —children— the foundation is able to help the less fortunate experience the joy of the holidays. 

Despite the campaign’s prior success, Toys for Tots Coordinator Cameron Goss said its storage and distribution room is at least 30 percent behind on toys compared to previous years. He and others at Toys for Tots said this may be due to this year’s late Thanksgiving, delaying Christmas shopping.

So far this season, the organization has made very little progress; 1,400 families are registered, but only 500 toys are ready to be distributed. 

This temporary problem can be combated, however. In order to make the holidays a little brighter for disadvantaged children people can stop by local sites. One location that has contributed greatly to the success of the organization is Blain’s Farm and Fleet in Moline. 

The store has partnered with the US Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots campaign to help collect and distribute toys for children in the area for more than 60 years. 

By raising awareness of the families that are in need of fulfillment this time of year, the organization aims to help children have a more joyful holiday season. 

Toys for Tots will be accepting donations until Dec. 20–distribution day. However, the organization prefers to have donations ready to give out to families by Dec. 14. 

“The community should donate to show those in need that we care deeply for their well-being and happiness, especially during the holiday season,” Zahn emphasized. 

Although the donations are significantly lower this season, communities are still working towards providing a feeling of gratitude to those in need. 

In an interview with KWQC, Goss said, “The simple gift of something that seems insignificant to someone else can make a whole Christmas for a kid.”