ARVADA, Colo. — Making holiday wishes come true for children across Colorado isn’t an easy task, but for Tasha Gallegos, Toys for Tots is a mission of love that started when she was a single mom wanting to make Christmas brighter for her son.
After a couple of years on the receiving end, she decided she wanted to find a way to help others herself.
“I started volunteering and then the ministry I was involved with suggested I reached out to Toys for Tots,” Tasha recalled with a smile.
What started as a commitment for just one holiday season has become a 28-year long pursuit to bring holiday joy to others. For Tasha, it’s a full-time job on top of her other full-time job working for the government.
“I allow my annual leave to build up so that I can take this time off to be here. I don't usually take a vacation," she said.
Tasha has involved her family throughout the years. Her daughter Ilyssa said she’s been volunteering since she was a baby and doesn’t remember a holiday season where her mom wasn’t volunteering.
“This is her passion and her heart,” Ilyssa said. “She was once a single mom and she needed toys. And to see her on the other side of this is really awesome.”
Ilyssa also finds her mom’s dedication inspiring.
“I still look up to her,” Ilyssa said of her mom. “One day, I'm gonna be able to do what she does and help families.”
- To learn how you can donate to Toys for Tots or help out in other ways, click here
Toys for Tots is a charity of the United States Marine Corp. Sgt. Ted Lewis has been working with Tasha on the program for a couple of years. He says her dedication is inspiring.
“She’s pretty awesome,” Sgt. Lewis said. “I think (she) works way harder than everybody else is ever here. She's extremely helpful with making sure this is a successful program.”
“One toy means something to those children,” Tasha said. “I have a slogan no child should go without. And I stick to that belief that no child should go without.”
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