LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The United States Marine Corps Reserve and volunteers spent the weekend at Walmart collecting toys for those in need. Organizer Brian Crews said it’s important to let the public know their mission by attracting attention.
“We do that by utilizing our surplus military vehicles, and our tents, and all our other assets,” he said. “We have some friends that have some really neat military vehicles and they’re gracious enough to bring them up and let us put them on display to attract attention.”
Crews said once people realize what the group is there doing, they have been more apt to donate. This year, due to the pandemic, Toys for Tots has received double the applications they’re used to getting.
“We made folks aware that we were in a bind and we really needed their help. And so the community has really stepped up and we’ve seen an increase in donations,” Crews said “And as of now we’re still a little short on toys but we’re a whole lot closer to accomplishing our mission.”
Gayle Risinger and her husband say they have been donating for years. It’s convenient to be able to go in, purchase toys, and bring them out.
“It means so much because we’re so blessed,” she said. “You know, there’s a lot of us that are still blessed, but yeah if they can please donate something because there are so many people in need.”
The gift of giving is special, and Crews said it’s special when they are able to have ‘pay it forward’ moments with those they’ve helped in the past.
“We’ve had numerous people come through and say, ‘Hey we want to make a donation because for two, three, four, five years, you helped our children,’” Crews said. “We’ve even had children come, I say children, older teenagers come through and go, ‘Hey, I got toys from Toys for Tots when I was younger, so I want to make a donation to help a child.’
They will be collecting toys until Wednesday at local collection boxes. Crews said they have them in most real estate offices, all of the dollar generals, major auto dealers and more.