Toys for Tots is Back!

This year's Toys for Tots campaign has launched, with the goal of serving 200,000 children.

The Marine Corps Reserves’ Dunkin’ Donuts Toys for Tots Train, distributing toys and coats to local non-profit organizations and children in need, is continuing to run, today from Binghamton through the Capital Region and into the North Country.

The program is also being run this year out of a warehouse at Legere Restorations in Schenectady.

Marine Staff Sergeant Patrick Lurenz tells WGY each year, the most under-served age groups are boys and girls older than 11.

"It's very easy to buy a G.I. Joe or a My Little Pony doll, but it's very difficult to buy something for a 13 or 14-year-old, they want iPads and earbuds, so that's generally our lowest incoming toy demographic."

The program is run by the U.S. Marine Corps and Dunkin' Donuts.

Eric Stensland, a Field Marketing Manager for Dunkin' Donuts, tells WGY the effort has expanded from just the toys.

"We saw the need for these kids in some of these under-served communities that didn't have coats, sometimes in the snow storms when the train arrived, and we said, 'You know what, we need to step up, we need to help these kids,' so now we have over 15,000 coats aboard the train, in addition to hats and gloves and scarves, and anything else they might need."

Lurenz adds that with the network of volunteers and organizations throughout Upstate New York, toys and coats can be disbursed to everyone in need.

"The distribution end of the train delivers over 40,000 toys a year and growing to the agencies that are on the outlying regions that don't have the financial or logistical capabilities of coming to us here in Albany."

There are more than 400 Capital Region locations accepting donations.

Photo: Getty Images

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