Toys for Tots donation numbers are down

5:30 AM, Dec 11, 2007   |    comments
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Two weeks until Christmas and volunteer Marines, unload, stack and deliver "Toys for Tots" in Minnesota. Now in its 60th year, volunteers hoped to have 600,000 donated toys by Christmas. The pile may appear bigger than Santa's bag, but the Marines are far from reaching their goal. "We're not keeping up with where we were last year," said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Markie. Donations are down. On an average year, toys fill the carpeted area right up until Christmas. This year, with 30,000 toys already out the door, the donation pile is a good ten feet short of the carpet's edge. "People still think it's a lot of toys, but it's just not the amount that we're used to," Markie said. The Marines are thankful for what they do have, but at this rate they say they'll be fortunate to receive half of last year's roughly half million toy total. So far 51,000 toys have been donated with another $22,000 in cash. The cash will be used to purchase more toys, likely toys for the youngest kids and electronics for the oldest, two age groups that are especially low. There are plenty of stacks for kids four to eight, but zero to three, they really need, just two stacks of toys can be seen and even lower is the stack for teenagers. Absolutely nothing is available, as fast as they get the electronics in, they're out the door. "Anything anybody does money, cash, check, gift cards, a little toy here, a little toy there, a bike, anything can be construed as a toy to a kid who really doesn't have anything," said Marines hopeful they'll see greater numbers before the big day. But no matter the number, or how big the stack, "I enjoy giving the toys out, it feels like Santa," said a Marine helper.

By Jeffrey DeMars, KARE 11 News

(Copyright 2007 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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