Bay area Toys for Tots needs donations - WFLA News Channel 8

Bay area Toys for Tots needs donations

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The Toys for Tots warehouse in Auburndale. The Toys for Tots warehouse in Auburndale.
The Toys for Tots warehouse in Auburndale. The Toys for Tots warehouse in Auburndale.
The Toys for Tots warehouse in Auburndale. The Toys for Tots warehouse in Auburndale.
The Toys for Tots warehouse in Auburndale. The Toys for Tots warehouse in Auburndale.
The Toys for Tots warehouse in Auburndale. The Toys for Tots warehouse in Auburndale.
Catherine Sanchez walked into an Auburndale Toys for Tots warehouse empty handed Monday. She left with a bag full of presents for her new baby and 5-year-old daughter.

"I'm planning on wrapping them and putting them under the tree and saying they're from Santa Claus," she explained.

Thousands of Bay area parents like Sanchez, are relying on Toys for Tots this year to help make their holidays a little brighter. Several local chapters say there aren't as many presents to go around this year.

Related: How to find a Toys for Tots donation site in your community

Retired Navy Captain George Overstreet and longtime Toys for Tots volunteers blames budget cuts at the U.S. Postal Service for a lack of toy donations the past two holiday seasons. The flier advertising the annual "Letter Carrier Toys for Tots Drive" didn't go out for the second year in a row.

"People said 'Well, I didn't know that it happened. I didn't know that the drive was on.' So the last two years, the number of toys that we receive has gone down and down," said Overstreet.

Still, Overstreet says Polk County Toys for Tots is on track to help 3,500 families this month. They just won't get as many toys as in years past.

Related: How to request a toy for your child

"It's just wonderful people putting on different events like they do at Publix. That's where we get the main pot of our toys," he said.

As Sanchez walked out of the Toys for Tots warehouse Monday, she expressed gratitude about whatever toys were put in her bag.

"I'm speechless. It's amazing to see my children smiling and happy that Santa Claus actually came to their house," Sanchez said.

If you want to help, Toys for Tots collection bins will remain at thousands of locations around the Bay area for the next week. Volunteers are asking for any new, unwrapped toys for children 13 and under.

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