East Bay News

Toys for Tots donations really low this year in Concord

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Despite the generosity of donors, there is still a desperate need in Contra Costa County. Food and toys are running low at food banks and shelters at a time when the need is so high.

It seems like we hear this every year, so ABC7 News went to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Center in Concord to see how low the donations are this year. Right now a small pile of toys is all they have to give to about 35,000 kids in the county.

"I was out checking on my cans and there was nothing in my cans, and I went in there and I'm just crying. I started crying," said Stephanie Surls, a Toys For Tots volunteer.

Surls keeps hearing how good the economy is, but her Toys For Tots drop boxes in Contra Costa County aren't reflecting it. With a donation box not even half full, she said, "This is what I have and this barrel's been in here for over a month."

Last year, the U.S. Marines needed about 75,000 toys. This year the demand is up to 100,000 and so far, they've only collected about a third of that.

"So if they have a very large order, we'll try to cut it in half so we can at least give the kids something for Christmas this year," said Marines Staff Sgt. Brendan Ludington.

If the economy is doing so well, Jeremy Bishop -- an unemployed welder and father, says he's not feeling it and neither is this pantry where he was receiving groceries. Donations have taken a huge drop there too.

"There's still fear that the economy could go down again," said Bishop.

"Is there enough left over for a $5 or $10 toy? Yes. But people are so focused on trying to make ends meet that they've forgotten about this," said Rolf Kvalrik, a Walnut Creek resident.

The U.S. Marines say you can donate online as well. They only have until December 20th to reach the lofty goal. But as they say, Marines always complete the mission.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
concord, contra costa county, marines, children, holiday, charities, east bay news, alan wang
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