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Toys for Tots struggling to collect gifts amid pandemic

Northern York County gave out more than 8,000 presents last year and usually receives $20,000 worth of donations. So far, they have only received $1,000.

YORK, Maine — For more than 70 years, Toys for Tots has been providing presents to children in need. This year, the organization is struggling to put presents under the tree.

Leo Menard is the coordinator for Northern York County Toys for Tots. He said the lobbies of donation locations have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving fewer places for people to drop off gifts.

"We can't give away what we don't have," said Menard.

The Biddeford Fire Department is one of those locations, but firefighters still wanted to help. The department continues to accept toys as long as people call ahead before arriving.

"It's sad to see the young kids who don't get a chance to have a Christmas. With the Toys for Tots program, it's a super program and we want to make sure the kids are going to have a wonderful Christmas," said Assistant Fire Chief Paul Labrecque.

Menard said last year they gave out more than 8,000 presents and usually receive $20,000 worth of donations. So far this year, they have only received $1,000.

"We have two weeks to gather what we need. We have 20 percent of what we need now, so the other 80 percent has to come in before the 15th of December," said Menard.

Menard said people can donate toys and money online:

The deadline for recipients to sign up is December 8th. Toys for Tots distributes toys on December 15th & 16th.

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