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Mayor Richard J. Berry, asks the City of Albuquerque to help 8,000 less fortunate children who could go without a Christmas gift this year.

ALBUQUERQUE – Mayor Richard J. Berry, the Albuquerque Police Department, and Fire Department are teaming up with the local Marine Corps to help find toys for 8,000 less fortunate children who could go without a Christmas gift this year.

The children are registered through the Toys for Tots program, which is run by the U.S. Marine Corps and collects toys for needy children.  Major Brian Cillesssen, who oversees the program for the Marines, says only 25% of the toy requests have been filled. This shortage has threatened the program’s ability to provide toys for children.  For some kids, the toys collected by the Marines are the only gifts they will receive on Christmas Day.

Similar to years past the Marine Corps has advised the Mayor’s Office that they’re experiencing a shortage in donations, and are in need of additional toys.  Mayor Berry took the lead in rallying the community to help address this need and the toys and donations are starting to come in.

"Every year we rely so strongly on our community to help us make the holidays a reality for these kids," Mayor Berry said.  "I am confident that once again the people of this great city will step up and make a donation to this heartwarming cause. The Marines need our support and as a city we are going to do everything we can to help the marines provide a meaningful Christmas for these kids, who might otherwise go without toys this holiday."

On Thursday, the Mayor, firefighters, and police personnel volunteered to staff a phone bank at KRQE seeking monetary donations as well as new, unwrapped toys.  About $7,100 was collected and will go towards purchasing toys. However, that is still only 25% of the total need.

Starting at 5 a.m. on Monday, the Mayor, the Marines, and Albuquerque police officers and firefighters will be collecting toy donations in the American Home Furniture parking lot at 3535 Menaul Bld. NE. Toys and cash donations can be delivered to the repository up until 7 p.m.

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