Toys for Tots Finishes Distribution

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COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. — Sunday was the last opportunity for Lane County parents to shop for gifts for their kids thanks to the generosity of local community members and Toys for Tots. Trying to reach everyone they could this year, the group added another location in Cottage Grove.

It was the same scene as Saturday in Springfield.

“Before, we went to Eugene and Springfield. It was always packed, filled with people. It’d take a few hours to get through, and I’m very grateful that they opened a site here in Cottage Grove so it’s easier for us,” said mother of three Shannon Mell.

Hundreds of parents all lined up in in the cold and wet weather, but this time at the Cottage Grove Armory. Folks were there well before the doors opened at 11 a.m. to make sure they didn’t miss out on the opportunity to nab some great gifts for their kids.

Organizers said expanding this event is all a part of the bigger picture.

“The mission for Toys for Tots is pretty simple. It’s hope. That’s what we’re trying to contribute down here to Cottage Grove, that there is hope,” said Staff Sgt. Thadd Pooler of the Marine Corps.

So, organizers and volunteers filled the big hall to make sure the message of hope was heard.

“It’s Santa’s workshop, just a very mini version of Santa’s workshop,” said Staff Sgt. Pooler.

While Cottage Grove is a new location, the goals and method remain the same. Once folks make it through the doors, they moved along and got a big empty bag to fill to the brim with toys and other goods for their little ones.

“Thank you so much to everyone who has donated stuff, and fortunately we are one of the people that benefited from it,” said father Jake Valdez.

“I’m very grateful that there’s people with lots of love to give to us,” Mell said.

Despite the long days, organizers and volunteers said it’s all worth it to see the gratitude of each family for the helping hand this holiday season.

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