SARATOGA COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With Christmas 48 days away, Capital Region Toys for Tots saw a large boost in donations thanks to over a hundred vehicles, all full of toys, taking to the streets of Saratoga County for the 8th annual Convoy for Tots.
The event began at Ballston Spa High School, where the vehicles lined up and a day-of drive-thru food drive took place. “It’s the public. The public sees the need to help these kids, and each year it gets bigger and bigger and bigger,” said Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo.
The Convoy for Tots, put on by emergency services agencies across the county to benefit local children, is a culmination of toy drives hosted by first responders countywide. “These are volunteers that give their time, their expertise and their knowledge to come out in their off time,” said Patrick Lurenz from Capital Region Toys for Tots.
For the third time, this year’s event was led by Grand Marshal Sir Ken Bailey, a local World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
“This is for a good cause, make the kids happy for Christmas. This way, they’ll have something to look forward to,” he said.
Once everyone was loaded and lined up, the convoy took to Route 50 with the truckloads of toys heading from the school to SPAC. Crowds of people lined up along the roadway to wave and take a look as the over one hundred vehicles traveled along.
“Not only is it one of the largest and only to this magnitude in the country, it’s definitely one of the largest that we do,” Lurenz explained.
The magnitude of what this event has become is something organizers never expected when the event first began eight years ago. In the inaugural convoy, around 30 cars participated with over 1,000 toys. Now, millions of dollars worth of toys have been donated over the years.
“When we got those 1,400 toys the first year, that filled a couple of pickup trucks, we were ecstatic. So to see it evolve to this and know that here in Saratoga county we’re able to support their large mission of the 16 counties, I believe that they serve, is tremendous,” said Steven Gordon, director of emergency communications.
And once the convoy finished its journey, boxes upon boxes of toys were loaded into a tractor trailer, all set to help bring joy to a local family this holiday season.
In all, tens of thousands of toys were likely donated during this event to benefit Capital Region Toys for Tots.
Sheriff Zurlo took a moment after the convoy was complete to thank everyone who played a part in the event.