Toys For Tots struggles to find warehouse space due to shortage
The group has received over 630 applications for toys
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - After over a month of searching, Toys For Tots has found a warehouse to store their toys.
Toys For Tots usually likes to have a warehouse by the second week of October. This year, though, they won’t get into one until mid-November.
“We’re not in a warehouse, so you really can’t kick off the whole campaign until you’re in a warehouse,” Group Coordinator Jeremiah James said.
James has been looking for a warehouse since early October. What he’s heard most from realtors is there is a limited supply of space or people don’t want to work with a short-term lease.
“We only need the building through December 31st,” James said.
The marine group Toys For Tots’ mission is to deliver new toys to less fortunate children at Christmas time. James said this is the first year since working for the group that it’s been this hard to find space.
“Most people are willing to help out and willing to donate their space or volunteer and help out,” James said.
Now that they have the space coming soon, the group will be playing catch up.
“We haven’t approved any applications for kids, so we have to get in there and start our toy counts to see if we’re going to make our counts for the number of kids we have already,” James said.
As of Monday, the group has over 630 applicants. In 2020, the group served over 5,000 kids and gave out over 12,000 toys.
Another issue the group is facing is the number of drop-off sites they currently have.
James said, “Most of the boxes I’ve done have been in West Knoxville and towards the Farragut area. I haven’t gotten any boxes in the downtown area or in any city buildings downtown.”
With fewer drop-off sites than they’d like and limited time, Toys For Tots will be racing against the clock to get all of the presents delivered on time.
Knoxville’s Toys For Tots group serves 9 Eastern Tennessee counties. If you’d like to donate or apply for a present, you can visit the group’s website.
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