EUGENE, Ore. — Thursday started bright and early with the guys who are used to getting called in to help. Instead of responding to an emergency, the crew at Eugene Fire Station 10 responded to the need in the community. They helped Staff Sergeant Thadd Pooler and a volunteer load the Marines’ van with donations for Toys for Tots.
When our team made it to the Royal Ave. Bi-Mart, a 4-year-old girl was waiting for us so she could hand her donation to a Marine. Also waiting, bins, baskets and bags full of toys donated by Bi-Mart members. Two stops in, we filled the Marines van for the first time.
We did it again within the hour at RV Corral.
“Our parts room is half filled up with toys, half with parts,” said Joe McCall, a manager at RV Corral. “It’s a good thing for the community.”
Not just good for the community, great for the community. After filling the van again, we headed to the Eugene Fire station in Santa Clara.
“We’ve had a few people just in the past couple shifts I’ve been here, bring in sacks full of toys,” said firefighter Dustin Mitchell.
One of those people was Carol Ellis, a local interior designer.
“When you have it to give and you can give, we know that it’s important and that it means so much to the families who are struggling this time of year when the economy’s so difficult,” she said, explaining what prompted her to make a donation.
At the Eugene Hilton, a 5-year-old girl made sure the Marines got her donation before we rolled over to Sanipac, where 40 bicycles were waiting for pickup.
“Every year, [the employees] get together and put together as many bikes as we can and hand them out to needy children in our area,” said Geoff Wieby, an account manager at Sanipac. “It’s probably the first time that they’re ever going to have an experience like this for a lot of kids. So it’s pretty neat to be a part of it.”
All those toys — along with the ones we’ve collected for the past several weeks — will be handed out this weekend. To find out more about distribution, click here.