SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Lane County parents who might not otherwise be able to get Christmas presents for their kids lined up at the Springfield Armory Friday.
Each one will get a ticket that lets them come back this weekend and pick out a toy from the boxes the community helped fill.
“I was here about 8:20,” said parent Melissa Cordell.
But the first parents in line at the Springfield Armory showed up at 2 a.m.
“I knew there was going to be a big line, and I’m all about my kids and I wanted to be out here and be sure my kids got something,” Cordell said.
They were soon joined by hundreds as they waited in the cold, bundled in blankets, sleeping bags, and anything they could find to keep warm.
“I’ve got two pairs of gloves on. I’ve got latex gloves on and long-johns on, sporting my kids’ hat,” said parent Herman Mueller.
“I am bundled up in a Marine-style sleeping bag and three jackets. I’m pretty warm,” said parent Cherry Smith.
“It was amazing just to see the people out there and to know that we’re going to help them and give them something during Christmas. That’s what Christmas is all about — giving,” said US Marine Corps Sgt. Brandon Coffin.
Give is what local Marines will do all weekend. But before all those parents come through, volunteers came in to get all their toys in order. They’re moving the toys from the warehouse over to the gym, box by box.
That is where parents will go through Saturday and Sunday looking for the toys their kids have been asking for.
“I got three girls in the house and they’re all about Barbie dolls,” Mueller said.
“My youngest son has been wanting a little race car-type deal. So I just want to see if I can find something like that for him,” Smith said.
Chances are good that she will. The Marines say they collected nearly 21,000 toys this year.
“The people in this county are so generous and it really is great to see all the toys and know that every child in this county will get something nice,” Coffin said.
“I just appreciate Toys for Tots and I’m very thankful for them, that’s for sure,” Cordell said.
“I wish everybody a merry Christmas,” Mueller said.
The Marines will hand out those toys on Saturday and Sunday in Springfield and Oakridge.