WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — News 8 visited Toys for Tots’ new gift storage location site Friday night in Wallingford, getting a closer look at how gifts are stored behind-the-scenes.
Up until two weeks ago, Toys for Tots didn’t have a home, since the usual Wallingford warehouse wasn’t available. That’s when Sgt. Ryan Milligan went knocking on the doors of the Good News Christian Church.
“When I found the church, it was a great opportunity for us,” Sgt. Milligan told WTNH.
Fay Williams, a volunteer with Toys for Tots for 10 years, said the feeling of giving never gets old.
“I tell people there’s a real need for it and they’re so appreciative,” Williams said. “So each year I get that extra energy. God gives me that extra energy to do it. For about 3 months, I’m dedicated to them – whatever they need me to do.”
From a room on the first floor of the church to a balcony overlooking the site, boxes were filled to the brim. Baby dolls, kitchen playsets, books, and stacks of board games have been collected; everything is organized according to age. Sgt. Milligan noted that each child will receive three regular toys, as well as a book, a puzzle, and a few stocking stuffers.
This year, 3,250 families have signed up to receive gifts, and most of those families average 4-5 kids each.
However, some families come unexpectedly, making the need never-ending. It’s a busy few months of preparing, boxing and sorting, but the reward, in the end, is priceless.
“Marines that do it, we all feel the same way, we all love doing what we do, and we can take the next step and volunteer,” Sgt. Milligan said. “And about the community – it’s just like nothing else.”
News 8 will be hosting the GR8 Holiday Give on Dec. 11 at Hamden Middle School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., collecting toys on-site. This will be a touchless, drive-through event.
Those unable to attend can give a monetary donation here.