EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With less than two weeks until Christmas, the giving season is picking up momentum.
Eyewitness News has teamed up once again with the U.S. Marines to help collect donations for Toys for Tots.
U.S. Marine Corps Sergent Christian Medina tells Eyewitness News that so far, they’re already collection dozens of donated toys.
On Thursday, Corporal Austin Morris arrived with an empty truck, and the toys collected at our studio nearly filled it to the top.
Morris said he filled up three uHaul trucks with toys on Thursday alone.
“It blows me away,” Morris said. “I never anticipated ever in my life seeing this many toys.”
The goal of the toy drive is to provide each child with four toys on Christmas.
Medina said he believes they will meet their goal this year, serving close to 2,200 families across Rhode Island.
Toys will be distributed Dec. 18-19 and for Morris, this will be his first time doing so.
“You get to see the people and it makes it more personal,” he said. “It makes you realize what you are doing.”
It’s not too late if you want to donate to Toys for Tots. You can still bring new and unwrapped toys to our studios at 25 Catamore Boulevard in East Providence through Dec. 20.
Some families need more than just gifts this holiday season. Many are also in need of healthy food.
The Rhode Island Food Bank is collecting monetary donations to help feed families across the state.
Chief Philanthropy Officer for the Rhode Island Food Bank Lisa Roth Blackman said the two weeks prior to Christmas are the most critical.
“The majority of our donations come during the last two weeks,” she said.
Roth Blackman said across Rhode Island, 53,000 people utilize the food bank every month. Additionally, 66% of those households include children or senior citizens.
She said she is hopeful Rhode Islanders will open-up their wallets and make a donation — adding that no amount is too little. In fact, Roth Blackman said donating $10 will provide 25 meals.
Other organizations, like Children’s Friend and Family Services, are also asking for donations this holiday season.
In a statement to Eyewitness News, Mary Talbot said the shelves of toys and racks of winter coats at Children’s Friend Spirit of Giving Holiday Drive room are depleting quickly.
“We expect some more donations to come in, but [right now] the toy shelves are looking lean and we could use more warm coats too,” Chief of Philanthropy Stacy Couto said. “We are hoping for some people and organizations to step forward to fill holiday wish lists for the 5,500 children that we hope to serve this season.”
The holiday drive will run right up to Christmas Eve. To donate, call (401) 276-4346 or email: email@example.com