SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Toys for Tots started a ticket distribution system a few years ago, so parents wouldn’t have to wait in line overnight to get presents for their kids. But this year, some parents waited in line to get those tickets as early as Thursday night.
Freezing cold temperatures didn’t stop hundreds of people from lining Pierce Parkway. Each person had a different reason for needing a little extra help this holiday season.
“It’s just a lack of jobs. I’m unemployed right now. It helps me out big time. I have three and one on the way,” said Misty Schneider.
“I only get Social Security. Then my boyfriend lost his unemployment, and we have absolutely nothing to get my daughter,” said Melissa Christensen.
“We’ve got five kids. I hurt my back in March, so I’ve been out of work since then. My wife she goes to college full-time, so I’m a stay-at-home father. It’s just a good way to help with the Christmas stuff,” said Hank Canaday.
Toys for Tots organizers say they expect to see a greater need this year because of the tough economic times facing Lane County families.
“We’re anticipating close to 7,000 children we’re serving. That will break down to about 3,500 families. It’s a fairly staggering number when you look at it like that,” Chris Tracy, Civilian Coordinator.
Parents say they’re grateful to Toys for Tots for helping their families have a Merry Christmas.
“It means a lot because if we didn’t have a program like this, they wouldn’t have much,” Canaday said.
“If I had the money and had the time, I would donate too. But I can’t, so I appreciate everyone who’s willing to donate and the Marines and Toys for Tots. It’s awesome,” Christensen said.