Toys for Tots faces challenges from storm, burglary - NBC40.net

Toys for Tots faces challenges from storm, burglary

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GALLOWAY TWP. -

The Toys for Tots program organized by the Cape Atlantic Marine Corps League is scrambling to gather more toys after a recent burglary lowered their supply of holiday toys.

The toys were being stored in a trailer in Winslow Township after a recent toy drive.

The burglar cut the lock, loaded up a nearby u-haul truck and made his getaway with dozens of boxes of toys.

"First of all we noticed that the lock was cut and gone and we open the door and found out probably about half of the toys were missing," said lead coordinator Frank Vesely.

Officials with Toys for Tots say the burglar sold the toys for profit.

The thief has since been caught but the toys have not been recovered, leaving a shortage of toys meant for under privileged children.

The toy supply has been drastically lowered by Hurricane Sandy; a storm which has turned potential donors into the ones in need.

"The need for us to have toys for these children is going to be greater and these people that in the past have contributed toys are going to be people that need toys this year," said Commandant of the Cape Atlantic Marine Corps League Joseph Hiers.

Officials say typically 20 thousand toys are given to roughly 9000 children.

In the wake of the burglary, more businesses are requesting drop boxes to increase the amount of donated toys.

Hiers say that the Marine Corps' association with the Toys for Tots program means they will accomplish their mission.

"When we say we're going to meet our requirements for children, Marines have a special affinity for children, we're going to make that commitment, one way or another," said Hiers.

The Marine Corps League is now trying their hardest to make up for the lost toys by going door to door.

Because of a hurricane, nor'easter, and now the actions of one bad individual, the amount of toys given may be lower, but Vesely believes they will still put a smile on the children's face.

"We're going to do the best we can with what we got. We may not be able to give them four or five toys this year, we'll give them two or three and hope for the best. Santa Clause will come one way or another," said Vesely.

The Toys for Tots program will continue to collect toys and make up for the shortage in time for the Holidays.

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