HALFMOON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Christmas clock is ticking down and the orders are piling up for Capital Region Toys for Tots. The third largest toy campaign in the U.S. now entering its 75th run and this year has already been more challenging than most.

Volunteer with Capital Region Toys for Tots here!

“We were unfortunately not able to acquire a warehouse until 45 days into the campaign. This became such a challenge because it means without a place to operate out of, we haven’t been bagging and tagging the donations coming in,” explains USMC SSgt. Ted Kleniewski.

“We are two and a half, three weeks behind as it is, plus no warehouse. A lot of challenges, a lot of things are being delayed. So logistically, we are suffering,” he goes on to say.

Serving close to 240,000 kids in 15 counties from here to Canada is never an easy task. Add inflation into the mix, on top of moving into their temporary sorting area at the Halfmoon-Waterford firehouse, and organizers say they don’t have the manpower they need to keep up. 

“We all know times are tough and things are a lot more costly than they used to be, so our donations and our funding is lower than in years past,” SSgt. Kleniewski explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton. “This year, we expect the need to increase so we expect to reach more children. Now the reason that’s an issue though is it’s kind of a domino effect.”

There’s around 70 more pallets of toys coming right after Thanksgiving, but it’ll cause more harm than good without room to store them. SSgt. Kleniewski says what Toys for Tots needs now is at least 100 volunteers this weekend—50 on Saturday and 50 Sunday—to get enough toys out the door to the children who need them most in time!

“We can’t leave toys outside, unguarded or anything like that of course, so the warehouse is just going to fill up, and it’s going to come to a point where it’s so full and we’re so behind that it’s going to grind operations to a halt,” he says.

He says the Capital Region has never failed to show its love for kids in need every holiday season. Toys for Tots hopes to see that same generosity now more than ever.

“It really is—in my eyes—a staple of the holiday season. Toys for Tots brings the community together, lifts people up, provides hope for children that need it, and gives others a way to put that positive energy to good use. This is a community effort and a community program and at the end of the day, nobody wants to see a child not have any joy or happiness or hope on Christmas day,” SSgt. Kleniewski concludes.

To volunteer with Capital Region Toys for Tots, you can fill out the sign up form here.