Warehouse Wanted: Toys for Tots seeking help storing donations ahead of the holidays

The coronavirus pandemic seems to be causing a shortage of space, something the US Marine Corp Toys for Tots needs a lot of.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For more than 70-years, ABC7's parent company, Disney, has supported the US Marine Corp Toys for Tots foundation. They kicked off the holiday giving season with donating half-a-million dollars to the organization nationwide.

$25,000 of that will go toward buying toys for the local San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin county chapters.

But this year, the Marines need help with more than just toys.

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Around this time of year we usually see festive images of Marines collecting toys for the Toys for Tots donation drive across the Bay Area.

But instead of meeting at the San Mateo Events Center like last year, we headed to the US Marine Corp Training Center base parking lot in San Bruno., where PODS storage units, are taking the place of an actual facility.

"COVID has changed a lot but we're making do, we have to. There are a lot of kids out there who need toys. We'll do what we have to do," says staff Sergeant Josh Garza.

This year is different because in addition to the need for 40,000 to 60,000 toys, there is also is a call for a warehouse space to house all of those items.

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There's concern the supply chain shortage could bring more counterfeit toys to the marketplace. Experts say some fakes can be dangerous.



Sergeant Garza says, "We're one of the largest Toys for Tots areas in the US," and that they need about 50,000 square feet of space.

"Even if it's smaller we can adapt and overcome. That's what that Marine Corps does," says Garza.

After reaching out to 25 different facilities, it seems the pandemic is causing a shortage of space.

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"They can't afford to give us the space. There are no warehouses to give or there's a boom in business in different industries so there's not enough warehouses to give to us." Says Sgt. Garza.

The need for the space is only temporary though. Collection stops mid-December and from there the toys will be sorted and distributed.

One thing there is no shortage of: that spirit of the holidays.

Sgt. Garza beams, "I love every second of it! It's a great thing, it's a great experience and you get to meet a lot of people and help a lot of children. I think that's the biggest thing."

To find a list of donation sites visit Toys For Tots, and if you have a warehouse space to offer the Marines to store all of the toys in San Mateo, San Francisco or general area, please contact San.Bruno.CA@toysfortots.org
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