Boston-area Toys for Tots overwhelmed by recent donations, but still 15,000 toys short

Two weeks ago, officials at the Greater Boston Toys for Tots didn’t think they could meet this year’s demand for toys. But after appealing to the public for help, donations have poured in.

“We had these requests, and we didn’t think we’d be able to fulfill everything,’’ said Marine Corporal Vin Dolan, spokesman for the charity.

Today, the group was overwhelmed by the number of toys overflowing from drop-off stations throughout the city.

“People are coming in droves today, and dropping off toys or donations,’’ Dolan said.

Still, the charity needs about 15,000 more toys to fulfill all the requests it has received.


The Marine Corps-run program collects toys as Christmas presents for needy children. The organization hands the presents over to hundreds of organizations throughout the city — including the Boston Housing Authority, and church groups — which distribute the toys to children.

More families than usual have asked for help this year, Dolan said.

Toys for Tots received requests from 350 Boston-area organizations this year, compared with 290 last year, Dolan said. Two weeks ago, before the entreaty to the public, the Boston office of Toys for Tots still needed about 50,000 toys. As of today, Dolan estimates that only about 15,000 more toys are needed.

“I went to three state police [barracks] today and on Saturday, and we have [large storage bins] to put the toys in, and all three of them were stuffed full,’’ said Marine Sergeant Matt Laroche, coordinator of the Greater Boston area Toys for Tots. “We’ve done really, really well but we still need some toys.’’

Last year, Toys for Tots in Boston collected 138,845 toys. This year, Dolan expects the group to give out about 140,000.

The Boston Housing Authority relies heavily on Toys for Tots. Officials at the Authority ask the group to help provide gifts for about 3,000 children who are between 3 and 10 years old, and whose families make $20,000 or less per year, said Lydia Agro, a Boston Housing Authority spokeswoman.


“Many, if not all of these children would not get a toy if the need is not met,’’ Agro said, adding that she was not yet sure whether the authority would have enough toys for all 3,000 children.

Individuals interested in helping can bring a toy or monetary donation to any Toys for Tots drop off center in the city. Donations are accepted at all Boston fire houses, the State Police barracks, Sullivan Tire and Auto Service, Toys “R’’ Us, and Babies “R’’ Us.

“We never let anybody down. We’re going to do our best one way or the other to fulfill our job,’’ Dolan said. “We don’t leave anybody behind.’’

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