Toys for Tots of Snohomish County began their 2020 collections on Oct. 3 this year to prepare for a holiday season in which they expect to be busier than in the past.
"We are here today for our campaign 2020 kickoff. We want people to know we're still here, collecting donations and getting ready for our distribution in December," said Mary Butler, coordinator for the Snohomish County Toys for Tots.
The U.S. Marine Corps run the annual program to support children and families in need during the holidays by providing gifts.
"This is something that the Marine Corps does here on domestic land. They have a heart for children and want to make sure children are taken care of, so that's why we do it," said Butler. "For those who aren't taken care of, we can help support them."
The local campaign began at the Tulalip Walmart on Oct. 3 and 4.
The organization used money from last year to fill a moving truck full of toys and collected more from community members.
Local Jaclyn Plank provided some items for the campaign.
"I have four grandkids in the military, my son's retired military and I believe in Toys for Tots," she said. "I'm just thankful that they're here and it was fun shopping early for them."
With the COVID-19 pandemic that has cut a lot of families' income, many expect the need to support local children and families will be high this year.
"Because of all the challenges in the community we're pretty sure that we're going to far exceed what we did last year," said Butler.
Snohomish County Toys for Tots opened their applications on Oct. 1 and have requests so far for 8,000 children. Usually most of the applications come later in the year, said Butler.
"So we know it's going to be crazy," she said. "There is an application process because we can only sign up so many, so I would caution people if they are in need to sign up now."
The local Toys for Tots website is everett-wa.toysfortots.org. They support families all across Snohomish County.
"If anyone wants to sign up for any of our services they can go to our website," said Butler. "If you are in need you can go online and sign up if you're a parent or guardian."
You can also apply through their partner organizations at DSHS, the U.S. Navy, TANF and other government organizations.
Butler thanked all those that have contributed so far.
"We thank everyone for their incredible generosity," she said. "Anything they can do to continue to give we really appreciate it."
More donation campaigns are planned and donations can also be dropped off at the Reach Church at 2730 Oakes Ave., Everett.
More information about making a donation or to apply for help go to everett-wa.toysfortots.org.