Toys for Tots volunteers came out to the Quil Ceda Walmart on Nov. 23 and 24 to collect toy donations for this holiday season.

"We are down here today doing a donation drive to help support our kids in Snohomish County," said Mary Butler, Toys for Tots area coordinator for Snohomish County.

Toys for Tots brought down their bus as part of the event.

"It's been really good. This is our Stuff a Bus and we already have half a busload," said Butler. "And we have Santa and a Marine out here to help represent."

The organization is well known so many people in the community are willing to help them, said Butler.

"People recognize who we are so most of the time we don't even have to ask."

Last year the organization gave out toys to 52,182 children in Snohomish County.

Butler said the organization is seeing an increasing level of families in need.

"Just because of everything that is happening because of all the opioid addiction we're seeing the numbers rise," she said. "So we're doing everything we can to meet the need."

She said she is happy to see the people come by to donate during drives.

"What I enjoy the most is to be able to say 'thank you' to this community because they have been so generous," said Butler.

"I enjoy the interaction with everyone. People on the whole are so nice and welcoming and this is the time of the year for that, isn't it?" she said.

Community members who donated this year said they were happy to help the organization continue their work.

"I think they're wonderful. It's a great thing and we love doing it every year," said community member Caprice McPherson.

"I think it's a great organization and everybody deserves to have something on Christmas," said local Victoria Campos.

The organization distributes the toys in a couple of different ways.

"Families and individuals with children can apply online and we screen the applications. They're given an appointment, day and time to come down to our warehouse to pick up toys," said Butler.

"Those are usually working class families," she said.

They distribute toys through the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services as well.

"We also work with community organizations like Pathways for Women," and others, said Butler.

The county branch of Toys for Tots will continue collecting throughout the county this holiday season, said Butler.

"There are local events going on all throughout December," she said.

Eighty-four local businesses are also registered as drop sites where anyone can leave some toys for the organization.

More information on those drop sites and other local opportunities to donate is available at everett-wa.toysfortots.org.

 

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