SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Western Mass News needs your help to fill our lobby with toys for local children in need.
Western Mass News is proud once again to partner with the Marines Toys for Tots campaign.
We're told this Christmas, a record number of local families have signed up for help, so many that the Marines said they are running out of toys.
Marines stationed at Westover Air Reserve Base made an emergency trip Wednesday morning to Western Mass News to pick up toys we've collected so far.
"We're really hurting for some infant toys and we figured you guys could help us out," said Sgt. Tyler Ciesla.
With a record 1,800 individual families who've applied for help this Christmas, the Marines have already had two distribution nights to hand out toys to those parents.
Another distribution is planned this week so the marines needed reinforcements.
"We're pretty bone dry on infants [toys]. This year we've been getting a lot of donations for the older kids, and it seems like people have forgotten about the babies a little bit so we're hurtin' for them," Sgt. Ciesla noted.
Western Mass News loaded a truck full, and off the Marines went back to their top secret warehouse.
Sgt. Tyler Ciesla told Western Mass News that with so many families in need this year it's been a bit chaotic, but heartwarming on distribution nights.
"They've been really grateful and understanding. They understand that generally on a night we'll have 150 families come through, so it's a little bit of a wait for them but they've been grateful, patient, and they really appreciate what all the marines are doing for them," said Sgt. Ciesla.
Many of the bins at the Marines warehouse which are normally filled this time of the campaign drive are nearly empty.
While they are severely lacking for infant toys, Sgt. Ciesla said they could use just about everything.
"We'll pretty much take anything that people can donate to us," Sgt. Ciesla added.
While the deadline has passed for families to apply for help this year, parents can still apply through one of the 239 non-profits Toys for Tots also works with.
You can drop off new, unwrapped toys to the Western Mass News studio at 1300 Liberty Street in Springfield Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. now through December 21.
For more information on how to apply for toys, visit the link here.