Every year Toys for Tots gives hundreds of kids across the Grand Valley something to smile about during the holidays. But officials say with the way things are going this year, they're going to need a Christmas miracle to make sure they can continue to do that.
Each year, Toys for Tots helps families in need. But with the nation reeling from a slumping national economy, this year the charity group is finding itself in need -- of some major help.
"With the cutbacks and a lot of things with the economy, a lot of the corporate givers haven't given this year," said Greg Merschel, who helps coordinate the Mesa County Toys for Tots drive.
And as family budgets tighten, officials say they're seeing individual donations decrease too. With just days to go before they begin distributing toys to needy kids in Mesa County, they say they're really feeling the effects of both.
"Right now we only have about forty percent of the toys we need," said Merschel. "And we start giving away this Thursday."
The group also collects money donations which it uses to go out and buy new toys for the drive. Officials say most years they're able to raise thousands. This year, they've only raised $1,500 -- and that's for the entire season.
"If we were to open the doors tomorrow, we would only be helping out two of every five kids that are listed for the program this year," said Merschel.
TJ Hines and Ray Scott own Skyline Warehouse, a shop that takes other stores liquidation merchandise and sells it at low prices. After hearing about Toys For Tots' struggles this year, they felt they needed to step up and help.
"We're having a tough a time as everyone else, but we gotta do what we gotta do," said Scott. "The kids deserve it."
The business is donating ten percent of all its proceeds to Toys for Tots. Scott and Hines have also set up a collection box in the warehouse, located at 2522 Highway 6 & 50. This Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, they're offering to match any toy dropped off in the box with another toy that they will purchase.
"Donate," said Hines. "Let's make sure these kids get a good Christmas. That's what it's about."
Toys for Tots officials say local businesses like Skyline have been instrumental in getting them to where they're at now. They say the real question is going to be whether or not the people of Mesa County step up like they usually do.
"I've seen it happen in the past and I've seen Christmas miracles happen," said Merschel. "I'm counting on this happening by Thursday."
Toys for Tots says it's most in need of bigger toys that cost $10 and up.
To find out where you can drop off new, unwrapped toys click on the link below.