EUGENE, Ore — After one full month of collecting donated toys for kids in need in our area, Toys For Tots distributed some of the donated toys to a special bunch of kids at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield.
The Marines say they collected over 21,000 toys in Lane County during Toys For Tots this year.
They donated some to local charities, families at their distributions, and Saturday, they made their final stop in the children’s wing at RiverBend.
While nobody wants to spend Christmas Eve in the hospital, but for families who had no choice, Lane County Marines and firefighters did their best to bring some extra cheer.
Staff Sergeant Luis Jenkins has been working hard for Toys For Tots but he says days like today make it all worth it.
“Everybody’s in awe that we’re actually here. I mean it’s amazing. You just see that smile, and it’s Christmas Eve,” said Staff Sergeant Jenkins.
“Though some of the kids are asleep and some are awake or not feeling real well, they all get a smile on their face when they receive an extra toy,” said Springfield Paramedic Diana Chappell.
Ten-month-old Max is one of the younger patients at RiverBend.
His parents Chris and Melissa say they we’re completely surprised by the visit.
“This was awesome. It was such a downer and this really brightened the day, really brightened our experience here,” said Max’s Dad Chris Rosin.
“Well it’s his first Christmas, so he really made out like a bandit,” said Max’s Mom Melissa.
Max and his family just found out they get to go home for Christmas, but for those who don’t, Toys For Tots brings Christmas to them.
Staff Sergeant Jenkins will be away from his family, too, but he says being part of Christmas for these kids helps him get through the holidays.
“My family’s in Texas. So, I can’t be there for my family because of other commitments, but I mean it’s amazing to be able to be there for somebody else’s family,” said Staff Sergeant Jenkins.
Staff Sergeant Jenkins says it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s for a lot of deserving families.
“A lot of hours and a lot of miles, but in the end, we touched three-thousand families directly at the distribution. And then obviously here at the hospital, going to the homes, going to the organizations, you walk out of here and you just feel so good about it, it’s what Christmas is about,” said Staff Sergeant Jenkins.