MECHANICVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Capital Region is already getting into the holiday spirit, kicking off the annual Toys for Tots campaign in Mechanicville. Toys for Tots has seen its challenges in recent years, navigating increased need during the pandemic and, most recently, working to find a permanent warehouse to create a home base for their mission.

“We’ve been nomadic,” Patrick Lorenz, U.S. Marine Coordinator for Capital Region Toys for Tots, said. “We always kind of beg, borrow, and steal, and as marines, we’re used to that. So, it’s not that it’s a bad thing, but it makes it difficult to really plant your roots when you know you may not be in that community next year again.”

For the past four years, the organization has delivered toys using a tractor trailer convoy. This year, they’re getting back on track with the return of the Marine Corps. Reserve Dunkin’ Train on December 2-3, 2023.

“All of a sudden, the day comes when we do this distribution on this big fancy train,” Lorenz said. “I got off, and seeing these little kids faces, I never had that feeling before. It really hits you that you’re doing something.”

The campaign began with a $25,000 donation from Dunkin. That money will go directly to buying toys for over 200,000 kids. Saratoga County first responders will also continue their annual convoy, collecting toys across the area in November.

If you’d like to help, Lorenz said there is something for everyone. “You can come right to our warehouse here in Mechanicville; there are sign-up sheets on our website. You can come here and help sort the toys, help bag the toys, help us drive.”

More information on Toys for Tots and how to donate this year can be found on their website.