Pierce County Toys for Tots volunteers have been busy for weeks filling bins with dolls, teddy bears, and other toys that top kids' Christmas wish lists.
"Santa are I are working everybody's lists for them," said George Hilbish, Toys for Tots coordinating officer.
This Christmas, tens of thousands of Pierce County kids will wake up to presents under the tree thanks to the nationwide toy drive.
"Every child deserves a little Christmas, and we try to give them a smile and some hope for next year," said Hilbish.
Many volunteers have been helping for more than a decade.
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Join us at KIRO 7 on Friday, December 6, to drop off your donation in person and enjoy a special day filled with holiday activities. US Marine Corps representatives and KIRO 7 personalities will be on hand from 6am-6pm to accept donations, but you don't want to miss the Holiday Block Party from 10am-2pm. Special events and activities at the block party include:
- Live Holiday Music from MOViN 92.5
- Seattle's Best Food Trucks
- Photos with Santa
- Local Team Mascots & Special Guests
- A special performance by the Seattle Men's Chorus
- Other drop off locations are listed on the Toys for Tots website.
"I like to help out. When I have the time, boom, I'm here, ready to rock and roll," said Dante Pugh.
Pugh's been volunteering since 2008.
"You just see the joy on kids' faces, they say, ‘Wow, I got this awesome toy,'" he said. "I feel like there's still hope in this world."
Toys for Tots is run by the United States Marine Corps. Every year, volunteers collect new, unwrapped toys leading up to the holiday.
All the donations collected by Pierce County Toys for Tots help parents in the South Sound who can't afford gifts for their kids.
Hilbish said year after year, the need grows and grows.
"When I first got involved in 2005, we helped out 3,900 kids, so you see that jump from 3,900 to 24,000 up to 31,000. It's a big increase," he said.
The goal is to give at least two gifts to every child in need. This year, that means they need to collect more than 60,000 toys.
"It's going to be close," said Hilbish. "Donations are down, and that's the way it is with everybody all over the country."
With just three weeks left until Christmas, Hilbish hopes others take time this busy holiday season to donate a toy or their time to kids in need.
Pierce County Toys for Tots is holding a toy drive Friday at the Walmart on 31st Ave. S.E. in Puyallup from noon until 6 p.m.
Other drop off locations are listed on the Toys for Tots website.
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