Today is the 13th year that I have organized a 12 hour donation drive for our local food bank, family service and Toys For Tots. I start the day at 5am, making sure all of our cameras are working, equipment is tested and being sure we can get a signal from our mall home base location. The day ends 13 hours later with tear down and returning of equipment to the television station I work for. It's a lot of hard work and takes months to plan, but it is one of the most amazing work days of the year. I've met so many amazing and generous people from politicians to break dancing crews to our wonderful sponsors. One year we even had Chris Kattan show up to support the event!
The stories of gratitude from families who receive a turkey or toy for their kids really motivates me to make each year even bigger and better than the last. This year was a challenge to plan due to COVID. I think I was able to pull it off though by having the event in one location, creating a one way alley in the mall parking lot for folks to drop off donations and outfitting our volunteers in PPE.
This event is just the kickoff of the season for myself and my family. We usually take the kids out and they use their own money to buy presents for Toys For Tots. Which reminds me of when I was a kid and my Dad would have us do the same thing. It was so hard parting with those sweet gifts, but I knew they would go to a kid that really needed and would appreciate them. I would say the hardest to give up were the Roger Rabbit figures I bought for Toys For Tots one year. I never did add those guys to my collection!
In closing, if you can this year, please help out by donating to one of your local charities. I know it's been a crazy year of uncertainty, but if we all do what we can, it will make a huge difference in some kids life and give them some great memories like we all have of Christmas past. Happy holidays! Here is this year's Toys For Tots link: Marine Toys for Tots