NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — With the temperature hovering around 90 degrees the last thing you might be thinking about is buying Christmas presents, however for Pasco County Toys For Tots, they’ve got a lot of work to do.
Pasco County Toys For Tots usually hands out gifts to about 2,000 families every holiday. This year they are expecting 8,000 families to be in need.
“Consistent paychecks were lost, when that happens once you get a month behind you don’t catch up that’s where Toys For Tots steps in,” said coordinator Christian Isaly.
Olivia is part of the Pace Center For Girls. She said Toys For Tots restored the magic of Christmas.
“It’s really nice to have that community that you know that can support you and you have a support system,” said Olivia.
Toys For Tots partners, like the New Port Richey Police Department, are critical in identifying those children and families who could use some extra holiday cheer.
“One of the best parts is being able to see the kids when there is nothing bad happening, and to be able to put that good feeling out there when it relates to law enforcement,” said Corporal Karen Norris.
While the Pasco County Young Marines have used their passion and strength to collect and eventually distribute many of these toys.
“We know what it means to come from broken homes and hardships and stuff especially during this Covid so we are here to help out the community all the best we can,” said Unit Commander Kennith Soto.
In order to really fill Santa’s Sleigh, Toys For Tots is relying heavily on this Saturday’s concert fundraiser at Gill Dawg in New Port Richey, featuring Tampa Bay bands The Black Honkeys and Stonegrey. The show starts at 6 p.m.
“There’s two ways to get into this event, one is a $10 dollar donation and the other is to bring an unwrapped toy and hang onto your seat because we are going to have one heck of a concert,” said Isaly.
Stonegrey guitarist Tristan Dusek knows from personal experience how much one Christmas gift can impact a kid’s life.
“I’m very fortunate to have gotten the things I’ve gotten and my parents have gotten me instruments and stuff like that so we love to get kids those things that they enjoy,” said Dusek.