Toys for Tots asking for patience as volunteers sort toys in new warehouse

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Capital Region Toys for Tots is busy sorting toys. The organization hit 50,000 toys on Thursday delivered to local charities to be handed out to children and teens. It’s a big milestone, but not even a quarter of what they need to get done by Christmas.

Capital Region Toys for Tots is working out of a smaller, temporary location at the Halfmoon-Waterford Fire District.

Charities were busy on Thursday, picking up toys to give out. Among them was Pastor Lynette Moses, who was picking up for her church in Schenectady. She said word of mouth from the members of her church has brought more people needing help with toys than ever before.

“My heart is broken that I’m unable to satisfy the need for the young people, cause it seems as if when one hear about the registry, then another sends someone that’s in desperate, more need,” she said, adding she was seeing many homeless families this year.

After losing their former warehouse in Clifton Park, volunteers are tasked with moving the toys in and out of their new warehouse, more like a garage, in little more than 40 days total. They plan to move to a more permanent location next year.

“This is probably a fifth of the size of what we’re used to, but we’re so grateful for the space. We needed it desperately,” said Staff Sergeant Ted Kleniewski, the logistics coordinator.

Toys for Tots has had to cancel some volunteers due to warehouse’s size. He said they’ve been met with a surprising amount of frustration.

“We’re asking for the public to understand that when we cancel things, it’s not because we don’t have anything together, it’s not because we’re unorganized, it’s because it’s the nature of this warehouse. We have to force things out as quick as possible, and then things come in and it fills up and then we have people come in,” he said.

Starting next week, he says, they will need many more volunteers as the 1,200 drop boxes from locations all over, will come to the warehouse to be sorted. The organization says the most needed gifts are for teens, such as makeup sets, nail kits, puzzles and games.

Sunday is the northern convoy, one of the largest annual toy deliveries. More information about how to see Santa and the marines, is available here.