NewsContact Denver7


'We're in need of toys right now': Toys for Tots reports 50% increase in demand from families, nonprofits

Distribution will be limited to nonprofits this year after difficulty finding warehouse space
'We're in need of toys right now': Toys for Tots reports 50% increase in demand from families, nonprofits
Posted at 4:51 PM, Nov 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-17 14:51:06-05

ARVADA, Colo. — Families feeling the punch of high prices from inflation are already turning to the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots Foundation for help this holiday season. Because of that, Toys for Tots has closed its application process and needs your help more than ever, Contact Denver7 has learned.

On Tuesday morning, a special delivery helped kick off the Toys for Tots season: a UPS truck filled with boxes and boxes of toys.

"This is what it's about," said one volunteer who was helping unload the truck.

'We're in need of toys right now': Toys for Tots reports 50% increase in demand from families, nonprofits

The Toys for Tots driver is actually getting off to a later start this year because organizers could not find a warehouse until last week.

"We usually have one by October 1," said Toys for Tots coordinator Tasha Gallegos. "It was a retired Marine who owns the property, and they donated it to us for $1, of course. So we jumped on it. We are in crunch time."

The new 10,000-square-foot warehouse is five times smaller than the usual space in a year of record-breaking demand. More than 300 nonprofits have requested toys compared to less than 200 last year.

"I think with post-COVID, and then with inflation, and with just the cost of living, we are getting more calls from families," said Gallegos. "The stories that I get told are just heartbreaking to me. We get stories from a family of two people working who still can't make ends meet and need help from us."

Because of the overwhelming demand, the application process is now closed, and instead of holding a Toys for Tots toy distribution event for individual families this year, Toys for Tots will refer people to approved nonprofits and their events.

Cindy and William Lucero run HALO, a charity that serves the homeless community. HALO will be distributing Toys for Tots toys at a local church next month.

"There are so many kids that we come across that are in need, that are homeless," said William, who explained a toy on Christmas can have an enormous impact on children's lives. "To some of the kids, that means everything to them. You think it wouldn't be a life-changing thing, but a lot of times it is."

Last year, Toys for Tot facilitated the distribution of 113,000 toys, and is trying to distribute 150,000 to 200,0000 toys this year. But with the late start, small space, and increased demand, organizers say it's going to take a Christmas miracle.

"So I would make a plea to the community — if you see this interview, it doesn't have to be an expensive toy. We're in need of toys right now," said Gallegos.

You can find a toy drop-off site near you on the Toys for Tots website. They accept new, unwrapped toys, and they always have a need for toys for older kids, especially ages 10 to 12.

Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at or call (303) 832-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.