Mayor Richard J. Berry and Public Safety Director Darren White are teaming up with the local Marine Corps to help find toys for 8,000 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. According to Major Brian Cillesssen who oversees the program for the Marines, this year a there was shortage in the amount of toys donated which has threatened the program’s ability to provide a toy for about 8,000 children. For some kids, the toys collected by the Marines are the only gifts they may receive on Christmas Day.
Last year, the Marine Corps advised the Mayor’s Office that donations were falling short and they were in need of an additional 3,000 toys. Mayor Berry took the lead in rallying the community to help address this need and the toys and donations flooded in. This year the Marines face similar if not greater challenges and they came back to the city once again requesting assistance.
“Last year the community stepped up and we were so grateful,” Mayor Berry said. “I am confident that they will again this year. The Marines need our help and as a city we are going to do everything we can to help the marines to provide a meaningful Christmas to this kids who might otherwise go without.”
On Friday, firefighters and police personnel volunteered to man a phone bank at KRQE seeking monetary donations as well as new, wrapped toys. About $5,000 and 600 toys were collected. However, there is still a shortage.
Starting at 5 a.m. Wednesday, the Mayor, Director White, and Albuquerque police officers and firefighters will be collecting toys at a repository for the donations at 10500 Copper NE (empty office space located behind Wal-Mart). Toys and cash donations can be delivered to the repository up until 10:30 p.m.