Adding a toy to donate on your Black Friday shopping list would help one of over 4,500 children in need in McLennan County

Published: Nov. 25, 2022 at 11:05 AM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Toys for Tots is celebrating their seventy-fifth year of bringing joy to children in need by making sure they get to unwrap a new toy on Christmas Day, and McLennan County Toys for Tots is hoping to do that for about 4,500 children in the community.

“The overall purpose of the program is to help children in need have joy on Christmas,” 1st Sgt. Jacob Olson, who is the Toys for Tots Coordinator, said. “The way we do that is every toy that’s donated directly stays here in the community in McLennan County, so essentially, people should donate because it’s community helping the community.”

They are trying to meet a goal of 16,000 toys so that children can get more than one toy each.

There are many donation sites around the county, including one at the front office of KWTX, and they accept new toys for a variety of age groups. Toward the end of the season, they will start to specify which age group they need toys for.

“Really, right now, we’re really in need of...toys for all of those age groups, so we’re happy to accept anything to help support these kids,” Olson said.

But, for those that do not know what kind of gift to donate, they do accept monetary donations on their website.

That’s what one young Waco baker did. Riley West baked and sold over 800 cupcakes, raising around $2,000 all for Toys for Tots in McLennan County.

She said she was excited when Toys for Tots asked her to participate in a recent “toy buy,” where they use donations to purchase hundreds of toys to donate to different age groups.

For Olson, this is his first year coordinating and preparing the toy drive, and, while it takes a lot of community outreach and preparation, he is happy to give back to the community.

“I grew up kind of poor and there were many Christmases where I went without having things under the Christmas tree, so, for me now, being able to kind of give that back and ensuring that those kids that are in need are able to have an enjoyable Christmas, that’s why I do this,” he said.

People in the area can donate toys at the front office of KWTX during business hours as well as in front of a few designated locations.

Chief Meteorologist, Brady Taylor, will be live in front of the Walmart on Hewitt Drive from 4 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. today, Nov. 25. He will be accepting donations at that time.

KWTX will also be at the Walmart on 31st St. in Temple on Friday, Dec. 2.

On Dec. 9, KWTX meteorologists will be accepting donations at the following locations:

  • Brady Taylor at KWTX Studios, 6700 American Plaza in Waco, from 4p-8p
  • KWTX Meteorologist at 1400 Lowes Blvd in Killeen in Killeen from 4p-8p
  • KWTX Meteorologist at 3401 S. 31st Street in Temple from 4p-8p