The annual Toys for Tots marathon starts this weekend

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- ABC30 is joining forces with the Marine Corps League and the United Way to provide a toy for kids this Christmas who wouldn't otherwise get a gift.

There's a lot of room inside the Toys for Tots warehouse in Fresno County. A few boxes have been filled with gifts, but the Marine Corp League is hoping to get a lot more at marathon weekend. "We have lots of families in the valley that are going through hard times, and without Toys for Tots their families would not get a gift at Christmas," said Virginia Cardinal.

Cardinal is co-coordinator for the Marine Corps League's Toys For Tots drive. She, her husband, and other Marines, like Mike Aguilar, have been collecting and sorting through toys non-stop for weeks. Aguilar once received a toy when he was kid from the Marines. "It brings joy to my heart because I know that feeling and I know my younger brothers know that feeling. I could see these children, their eyes gleam when we give them toys."

The league is trying to collect tens of thousands of toys to meet the wishes of kids here in Fresno County. This past summer, the United Way held a meeting to figure out which non-profits and churches needed toys. Interim CEO Bob Reyes estimates more than 100 agencies requested assistance and he's hoping the community will hear the call to help. "If we don't raise the toys we need there will be children in the Valley that will go without toys this Christmas."

Right now the Marines need toys for ages 12 and under, but there's a greater need for gifts geared toward young children and older boys. "We are lagging in donations this year. We are out there trying hard and the community is out there supporting us, but we really need a push," said Cardinal.

A push they hope will help them in their goal to provide a Christmas for every child in Fresno County.

The drive kicks off Friday morning at 5 at the River Park roundabout and runs until Sunday evening.
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