TROY, N.Y. - Saturday at the Missing Link Zion Church Pastor Willie Bacote had a heartbreaking task at hand when he had to tell families that the toys they usually get there every year for their children wouldn't be coming this Christmas.
Every year Toys for Tots serves hundreds of children in need from North Troy and the surrounding area. Their eyes bright with excitement as they're handed a Christmas toy their families weren't able to buy.
But now the annual holiday party that so many families count on is in jeopardy.
"We are devastated about what has happened," said Bacote.
Last night the man families look to for help to provide that Christmas received some shocking news.
Pastor Willie's application to Toys for Tots was not approved this year.
In an email, the organization explains that due to the high demand, the program is now officially closed.
Pastor Willie can understand the overwhelming need for toys. He has seen more families signing up every year.
"The numbers have grown, I can see that simply by being here at the church, the things I deal with here on a daily basis. The economy is very hard," said Bacote.
Pastor Willie Bacote is not the only application that was denied this year. Both the Boys and Girls Clubs of Troy and Schenectady were shocked when they learned they would not be receiving the toys this year, after a long standing relationship with the organization.
"Three weeks ago we had been notified that not only our Boys and Girls Clubs in 15 counties were denied Toys for Tots this year," said Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Schenectady, Shane Bargy.
Bargy said Toys for Tots told him the groups did not have proper paperwork proving they were non profits and that there weren't enough toys. It was a hard reality to swallow for some families that depend on the toys.
"You know when times are hard like these it helps. So now because of this we have to try and arrange something else or figure something else out," said Spring Strope of Troy.
Bargy and Sharon Smith with the Troy Boys and Girls Club say they have reached out to the National Organization for help. The Vice President of Operations Brian Murray, according to Bargy and Smith has agreed to send them the toys they need from its site in Virginia.
Pastor Willie Bacote is making a plea for your help.
"We are reaching out to any and everybody to please help," said Bacote.
You can donate at the church's location in Troy, at 3370 6th Avenue.
341 Northern Blvd., Albany, NY 12204
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