Toys for Tots puts gifts under Christmas trees until last minute

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Families on Tuesday were picking up last-minute donations to put under the tree from Toys for Tots.

The division has given away more than 50,000 toys across the city and surrounding counties during the holiday season.

SaVonn Cook took away a bag full of toys for his 3-year-old son and 3-month-old daughter. “I just see everybody enjoying this time of the year so I wanted to make it a priority to be able to do something for them and celebrate in some type of way,” Cook said.

Cook told News 8 he’s never heard of the local charity until recently. He’s one of many families who took advantage of what Toys for Tots has to offer.

“I went to Google to see if there were any toy giveaways and that (Toys for Tots) was the first thing on the site and I thought they had given all the toys out,” Cook said.

The charity was established by the Marine Corps in 1947.

“For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I do take some toys home and I know the Marine coordinator has toys at home, too, just in case we do get a phone call saying they’re in desperate need of toys for one reason or the other,” volunteer Sabrina Cook said.

About 400 volunteers from the Toys for Tots Indianapolis division have been working around the clock from the Gleaner’s Food Bank warehouse for several weeks. Volunteer Sabrina Young said they’ve received $20,000 in donations to buy toys from distributors. “It’s really fun for the volunteers to come work for Toys for Tots because they actually get to pick out the toys that the children receive,” Young said.

Cook said Christmas is more about spending time with family than anything else, although he greatly appreciates Toys for Tots helping his family have a merry Christmas.

“A lot of times people are happier during this time of the year because the title ‘Christmas’, but I feel like happiness should be something that you express to others all year round and, if we’re able to do that for our kids and our friends and family, then that’s all that matters,” Cook said.

Toys for Tots Indianapolis said they already have 10,000 toys ready for next year. Click here to learn how to make a monetary donation.