HELENA — Helena Toys for Tots volunteers were busy on Wednesday setting out donation boxes across the area for their annual toy drive.
“This is when it starts to feel real,” said Helena Toys for Tots Co-coordinator Angie Fillinger. “There’s stuff to do year-round to get ready and when we we the boxes out and go around town it gets exciting.”
Helena’s other Co-coordinator Howard Mears says they are anticipating delivering around 25,000 toys to families in need this year.
“That will be plus or minus 3,000 depending on the number of kids or number of people,” explained Mears, “We do need a lot of toy donations this year.”
Over the next couple of days, volunteers will be delivering hundreds of donation boxes to businesses and organizations across the greater Helena area. Donations benefit families in Lewis and Clark, Broadwater, and Jefferson counties.
One of the volunteers on Wednesday was Mike Morrison. Morrison spent six years with the Marines, including assisting with the Saigon, and another 32 with the Montana Army National Guard.
He’s volunteered with Toys for Tots for over two decades and says helping families has always been the best part.
“During distribution day, when you see the look on some of the mother's faces, that is it rewarding enough to get us back to say, okay, I'll do this again next year or I'll do this again for five more years,” said Morrison.
Toys for Tots will be holding sign-up days in Lincoln, Townsend, and Boulder this year to help limit the distance families will need to travel. A list of times can be found on their social media.
More information about supporting Helena Toys for Tots and volunteering opportunities can be found on their website.