SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — At least two months and about 34,000 collected toys later, Toys for Tots was finally ready to help bring some Christmas joy and spirit into local homes. The group kicked off toy distribution bright and early Saturday morning.
Despite the cold and the rain, parents gathered by the hundreds outside Maple Elementary School in Springfield, some for hours, hoping to find and take home the perfect present for their little ones.
Crystal Thornbrugh was one of many moms and dads in the long line outside the school, finding it hard to get the gifts that would bring a smile to the face of their children come Christmas morning.
“I’m married. I have three kids. I go to school. I’m a student….For me, my son’s birthday, is also on the 19th. My other one turns two on the 19th. His birthday party’s tomorrow,” said Thornbrugh.
Thankfully though, they all got some help this year. Organizers at Toys for Tots said they’ve been working tirelessly to help everyone they can.
“It’s amazing. It’s truly a blessing and a gift to be able to help people out and be able to provide toys for their kids. It’s great,” said Marine Corps Sgt. Brandon Coffin.
As Thornbrugh worked her way down the line, U.S. Marine did his best to help her find just the right gift.
Coffin said, “I just have a son that’s 2. So I know that demographic, but it’s hard to find toys for girls that are 9 or 10. That tween–it’s hard to get toys for those, but between the parents and the staff in the back, we get it figured out.”
Thornbrugh said, “I think what they do here is really great. I think it takes a lot of community to do something like this you know. It takes a whole community to raise a child, and I really think that’s true.”
And it’s a community effort that Thornbrugh and other parents in need said they’re grateful for.