'We need help.' Toys For Tots Westchester asks public for donations
Toys For Tots has been the difference between no Christmas and a magical Christmas for children since 1947, but this year's need is unparalleled.
"The demand is something I've never fathomed before," said Toys For Tots Westchester coordinator, Stephen Topilnycky. "When I started as a coordinator eight years ago, I only serviced 16,00 children."
Last year, 28,274 children had presents to open up on Christmas Day, thanks to Toys For Tots, but this year they have requests for 40,000 children, just in Westchester.
"We need help, we need toys, especially in the teenage group from 12-18," says Topilnycky.
A sign of the times perhaps, but devastating for the skeleton crew of four volunteers at Toys For Tots, who take it personally when they can't give gifts to every kid who needs one.
"I'm emotionally tied to this," explains volunteer Ethan Ocasio. "When I was down and out and couldn't get gifts for my kids, they helped me and I was able to give my kids a Christmas, so I've always wanted to pay it forward."
The Toys For Tots Foundation delivers about 10 pallets of toys and six pallets of books to the local chapter, but the rest has to come from the community. The toys and books go into one of the 356 donation boxes stationed throughout the county.
But the math is simple. "Everything that we give you is based on what is donated. If we don't have it, we cannot give it."
If you can donate, or volunteer, they desperately need manpower, click here.