Toys for Tots drive kicks off in the Valley

FRESNO, Calif.

This year, the U.S. Marine Corps is hoping you'll pick up an extra toy for a child in need. With Christmas being a little more than a month away, Marines and even hockey players are hard at work as Santa's helpers.

Sgt. William Cardinal for Toys for Tots says, "To hand that a kid a toy and see the look on that child's face, it's the most amazing thing you will ever believe."

The Toys for Tots drive started bright and early at 5 a.m. at Fairwinds Senior Retirement Community where residents even got into the giving spirit. "Well when i heard it's for tots, honey, i go all the way," said Mary Kazannjian, resident.

Every person that brought a gift received free cinnamon rolls and Fresno Monsters Tickets.

Educator Melissa Armiento-Van Loon brought her students along, as she too donated to Toys for Tots. "I just want to teach them how to give back to our communities, whether we are from Madera, Fresno, or anywhere else."

In this economy, toy drive organizers are seeing a bigger need for help. This year, they hope to collect 112,000 unwrapped toys where every present will go under the tree of a kid right here at home. Later, staff Sgt William says

"There are about eight different coordinators in the area and we cover the Central Valley and work hand in hand re all for the same goal: Christmas for every child this year" said Staff Sgt William.

The Marines took in hundreds of donations Thursday at the Toys for Tots drive. They say they hope Valley residents will help out and make the holidays brighter for Valley children.

You can help donate to the drive by giving some local donations yourself. The annual "Toys for Tots" marathon starts Friday, November 30th, at the Riverpark Shopping Center – and ends December 2nd.

Toys for Toys is sponsored by ABC30, United Way of Fresno County, and the United States Marines Corps.

Click here for a complete list of drop-off locations.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.