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Local Toys for Tots branch sees registration increase due to COVID-19, in need of donations

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 10:04 PM EDT
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WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - With Christmas just two months away, the Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign is in full swing, but this year the branch in the Cumberland Valley is seeing more registrations.

For four years, Greg and Cathy Sims have been coordinators for Toys for Tots in Whitley, Knox and Laurel Counties.

“The first year we came in blind for our first time fresh off of training and we got hit with 1500 kids," said Greg.

In their first year, they had 1,500 kids, the second year nearly 3,000 and last year almost 5,000 children.

“If history follows suit we’ll have 60% increase over that almost 5,000. I think we’re gonna go higher. We may see 80 to 85%," said Greg.

This year, just three weeks into registration, the Sims' tell WYMT they already have about 1,800 kids registered.

“We didn’t hit that number last year till probably Thanksgiving," said Greg.

As the pandemic continues, parents are desperate to provide Christmas for their kids throughout financial struggles.

“In all the years we’ve been doing this I’ve seen people actually plead help me. I’m worried for them," said Cathy.

As registration continues to increase, the campaign is struggling themselves, as all their fundraisers have been canceled due to the coronavirus.

“We’re 75% down from what we had at this time last year, so that’s significant," said Greg.

They count on the money they raise from fundraisers to be able to buy toys they need, that they do not have donated.

“Worst-case scenario is every kid will get less but every kid will get. We will make it happen. Marines are notorious for adapting, improvising and overcoming so we will make it happen," said Greg.

Usually, each child receives four books and four toys, but Cathy says that will be impossible this year.

“I can honestly say this year it’s going to be a far cry from that," she said.

Greg and Cathy are urging people to donate at the boxes they have spread across the counties and also volunteer to help them sort and distribute the toys.

To donate, you can click here.

You can also call the Sims' at 606-549-4083 for more information.

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