Christmas presents not as plentiful as past
Not having enough elves in Santa’s workshop this year may leave the area under some kids’ Christmas trees barren.
The Denver-area Toys for Tots program has been able to distribute only 10,000 toys as of Tuesday, far fewer than the more than 100,000 toy requests it has received from nonprofits, said Staff Sgt. Jon Kilpela, coordinator of the Aurora program that oversees seven Colorado counties.
“The community still seems really involved, and everybody seems really geared toward making this program succeed,” Kilpela said. “We just need more toys.”
Toys for Tots is a 69-yearold U.S. Marine Corps charitable program that provides toys to disadvantaged children. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation and local Marines have bought some toys, but Kilpela said the organization “can’t do it without the support of the community. It will always be community driven.”
Last year, Toys for Tots received roughly 5,000 toys by Oct. 31. This year, it didn’t hit that number until December, Kilpela said. At the same time, requests have increased.
“All the events coming around this year, they’ve been great,” Kilpela said. “But they just haven’t been bringing in toys like they did last year.”
Kilpela could not say why donations are down. Gifts still are trickling in from drop-off boxes, so he also isn’t sure how many requests may have to be denied.
As of now, Toys for Tots is warning the more than 300 nonprofits and schools that asked for toys to start looking for other donors.
But that’s an option easier said than done.
The Epworth Foundation, to which Toys for Tots gave 1,000 gifts, is one of the few nonprofits that received toys, spokeswoman L.J. Harker said. She said the foundation has received calls from multiple school social workers desperately searching for toys.
“I’m sending out frantic e-mails with everyone we partner with to see what we can do,” Harker said.
Toys for Tots prefers donations to be in by Dec. 22 so the gifts can be distributed in time, Kilpela said.
Those interested in donating can go to the program’s warehouse at 3410 Brighton Blvd. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. But the warehouse is unheated, so it may open later on particularly cold days.
Potential donors can also make a donation online at aurora-co.toysfortots.org.