Volunteers say it's never been this bad. Usually, the Toys for Tots warehouse is full, but it sits empty now, and its doors are shut as there are no toys to hand out. Coordinators say the need is greater than ever.
Virginia Cardinal says "it's a terrible sinking feeling" when she has to turn people away. The Toys for Tots Coordinator said, "I have phone calls coming in hey can you help out my family and I need to say not right now I need Fresno County to help me I don't have anything to give you."
For the first time, Toys for Tots is being run by the Marine Corps League, which means former service members are at the helm, not those who are active duty- and they've lost some financial backing. "We ran a little late in getting this news, so we lost our toys r us money which is $18 thousand and that from a kicking off point is a big loss."
Cardinal says, that means she needs the community's help more than ever. 207 organizations have asked for toys for 85 thousand people. So far, they've only received a little over ten thousand. But, there is hope around the corner. Daniel Payne with the Marine Corps League said, "This weekend is our marathon weekend, we're really expecting and needing Fresno to step up and show their generosity and give us toys so that we can get them to the families that need them."
Some are making cash donations which is a huge help. Volunteers say people are stepping up, they just need more of that effort- a lot more.
Cardinal said, "I really only have after marathon weekend a solid week to make this happen this year."
Marathon weekend, sponsored by ABC30 kicks off this Friday at 5am, at the River Park Shopping Center in North Fresno. In the meantime, volunteers hope you'll visit one of the many drop off locations in Fresno County.