EUGENE, Ore. — If you heard sirens and saw flashing lights at the Shopko in Eugene Sunday, there was no need to be alarmed. It was all for a good cause. The Shopko parking lot on Chad Drive was where Toys for Tots held its annual donation event and it was filled with dozens of people that day.
Organizers said you couldn’t help but feel the Christmas spirit as everyone there was eager to make sure the holiday would make it to every household this year. Local first responders along with several U.S. Marines were tending to a different sort of emergency Sunday–children in danger of being giftless come Christmas morning.
The group wasn’t alone in its mission. They were joined by crowds of local families and even some cheerful mascots, all more than willing to help make sure kids throughout the area wouldn’t miss out on Christmas this year.
Donor Austin Bailey said, “We came to drop off some gifts for some kids who might not get any.”
While the donations kept on coming, organizers made sure there would be plenty to go around, running inside to fill carts and carts with toys for kids in need.
Sgt. Reginald Glen with the U.S. Marines said, “It’s a good feeling and it’s also very important. A lot of these families don’t have the money or are struggling to get their kids a nice christmas. So us coming out here and doing all this for them…they’re really grateful and thankful for it.”
Almost everyone agreed that the event was both an opportunity to help as well as pass on the generous spirit.
“It’s one of the best ways we can share what we’re doing and parents love to bring their kids out here, because it’s a great way to teach them about donating,” said Toys for Tots Board Member Kristi Reeser.
“It’s important to share with them about giving…So we figure if we teach them early it will help,” said Bailey.
The items collected on Sunday will be distributed to families in the Eugene and Springfield area on December 15th and 16th. The event is over, but it’s not too late to help out. To find a donation drop off near you, click here.