GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Just days before Christmas, Toys for Tots says it still needs help to make the season bright for thousands of deserving children in our community.
As volunteers worked to keep their busy store filled with toys, the only thing that filled the delivery room at the Toys for Tots distribution center was empty boxes.
"At the store, we're pretty bare right now," says Greg Merschel, Western Slope Coordinator for Toys for Tots. "We do have some more stuff stored at my office which we're moving over to take care of [Tuesday] -- but Wednesday, we're not sure at all what's going to happen."
Monday, dozens of Grand Valley residents donated toys during KKCO's 11 Cares and Mesa Mall Emergency Toy Drive, in hopes of giving Toys for Tots a more definite answer to that question.
"It gives children the opportunity to have a Christmas they wouldn't have otherwise had," says Grand Junction Resident Lenore Snoke.
"This time of year, especially with the way the economy is, it's just a good time to give to those who are less fortunate," says Grand Junction Resident Cecily Marolf.
Officials say 3,300 children were signed up to receive toys as of the second week of December -- and that number has since shot up.
"They've been signing up today and they'll be signing up tomorrow," says Merschel.
Toys for Tots says monetary donations are down two-thirds -- money it usually relies on to buy the toys it needs. In light of that fact, officials are hoping by the time they pick up their boxes for the last time Wednesday afternoon, they're full.
"I think it's in people's hearts to make sure that children get something at Christmas that they can call their own," says Merschel.
To help meet the need, we're extending the 11 Cares Emergency Toy Drive until the need is met. You can bring any new, unwrapped toy to the 11 News studios, located at 2531 Blichmann Ave., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.