Toys for Tots seeking volunteers in final push to get toys under the tree

Volunteers at Toys for Tots are hard at work, but they say they need an extra push of help to get all the presents under the tree for local kids by next week.

“So many hands make light work,” said Erin Farron of Latham, who volunteers every year with Toys for Tots, as she worked Wednesday evening in the warehouse.

And extra hands could help move all these toys out to organizations helping families in the Capital Region.

“This is our busiest week because the campaign ends Dec. 23, that we can use all the volunteers we can get,” said Warehouse Chief Kathy Lincoln.

Lincoln says the need in the Capital Region seems to grow every year.

“Last year we gave over 300,000 toys to more than 206,000 children,” she said.

And this year, they have even less time to meet the demand. An issue with their building’s sewage meant they had to turn volunteers away for more than a week as it was fixed.

“So that 10 days also put us a little bit behind, because typically we’re farther ahead in meeting the demand than where we’re at right now,” said Lincoln.

Right now, 25 to 50% of their volunteer slots are still open.

“Everyone is pleasant, everyone’s happy to see each other, whether you know them or not,” said Farron.

And Farron knows how special it is for parents to not have to worry about giving their kids presents. She has volunteered for decades after her son Michael had plenty of gifts at his first birthday.

“When my son, at my son’s first birthday party, we were so grateful for all that he had, we felt we wanted to give back. So every year since then, Michael has collected toys for Toys for Tots,” she said.

Volunteers can come choose time slots in hour increments based on how long they’d like to help out. To sign up, click here.