LARGO, Fla. — More than 20,000 tots. More than 60,000 toys. Together, the Toys for Tots chapters in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties collect a lot of toys to help a lot of kids each holiday season.
There’s just one problem.
“We can’t start collecting toys until we have somewhere to put them,” says coordinator Ed Zaleski.
And right now, Toys for Tots on both sides of the bay are without warehouse space.
The United States Marine Corps Reserve, which runs Toys for Tots, is hoping someone in the area steps up to help, preferably with a nice big donated space.
“We don’t have a lot of funds,” says Zaleski. “Ninety-seven cents out of every dollar donated goes to buying toys.”
Warehouses that Toys for Tots previously used are occupied and busy.
“We’re both looking for about 25,000 square feet,” says Zaleski. “Maybe some office space. A bathroom. A loading dock would be great.”
Gunnery Sgt. Travis Magofna, who coordinates the Hillsborough side, says they’re confident they can find warehouses.
But time is of the essence.
“This is the first time it’s gone this late,” he says.
For more information on Toys for Tots Pinellas, go to https://st-petersburg-fl.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx.
For more information on Toys for Tots Tampa, go to https://tampa-fl.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx.