OKC Toys For Tots In Need Of Donations
OKLAHOMA CITY - Volunteers with the Toys for Tots drive in the Oklahoma City area said they are desperate for donations.
The group has less than a month to rally the community before the big giveaway so every child registered gets a toy for Christmas.
The deadline to register kids for the toy giveaway has already passed and after tallying up the requests, roughly 15,000 toys are needed locally.
The campaign was nowhere near that goal as of Nov. 18.
“The program is hurting bad,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Culberson with Toys for Tots OKC.
The official toy count for the local campaign includes a truck full of bicycles and three boxes of toys.
“This is what we currently have, so we are in need,” said Staff Sgt. Culberson. “I'm looking at least having 15,000 more toys,” he added.
The local drive serves needy kids from 0-12 years old in Oklahoma, Canadian, Cleveland, Logan, Pottawatomie and Grady Counties.
“Our goal is to give each kid at least one toy, that way each kid will actually experience Christmas and we can bring that joy to every kid's life,” SSgt. Culberson said.
However, that goal is in jeopardy.
The program raised $30,000 this year, but most of that money went fast after the rental of warehouse space and paying for the fuel to pick up donation boxes.
Toys “R” Us is one of the corporate sponsors and it has donation boxes at all of its area stores.
Culberson said they just need more individuals to donate.
“If we don't, people don't step up financially, or actually with donating toys, we're not going to be able to go purchase the toys that we need to fill the orders,” he told News 9.
The Marines said they are begging for help and trying not to think of a child waking up without a gift.
“That's not an option that we want to even look at,” Staff Sgt. Culberson explained. “I mean, we're in the Marine Corps, we make the best out of a worst situation, we are going to make it succeed, it's just we need the community to step up and help us out with this program,” he pleaded.
Officials said it is hard to pinpoint an exact reason as to why the need is outpacing the donations.
According to the Oklahoma Center for Non-Profits said one out of every six Oklahomans lives in poverty.
If you'd like to donate or volunteer, call SSgt. Ryan Culberson at (405) 835-9871.