East Texas organizations begin annual Christmas toy drives

East Texas organizations begin annual Christmas toy drives
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 2:17 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2023 at 11:04 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - As Thanksgiving approaches, many food drives are going on in East Texas. and the traditional toy drives for Christmas are also underway.

But time can quickly run out for those trying to give children a brighter Christmas.

At places like Citizens Bank in Gladewater, the presents are already stacking up. Annual toy drives there and at the Hiway 80 Rescue Mission were started to help struggling needy families during the holidays.

“Pretty significant population in Longview and Tyler that just, they’re living paycheck to paycheck, they don’t have the resources for anything beyond housing and clothing. Last year we gave gifts to close to a thousand children,” says mission director Brian Livingston.

The numbers can sometimes be shocking. Hundreds of families with children go through the same thing each year, struggling to pay bills. Places like Mercy Manor often deal with needy families and single mothers.

“The little things that we take for granted, simple smiles, simple toys, something like that, you don’t even imagine what a game changer that can be for a parent that can’t provide that for a child,” says Mercy Manor executive director Stephanie Fears.

For most drives there is a distribution date well before Christmas. And time can quickly run out for families in need.

“Our event is on December 16, so we need all toys by December 8 so we can get them sorted out, put in bags. We need toys,” Livingston says.

Salvation Army Tyler’s Angel Tree, The Marine Corps Toys for Tots, and toy drives in Gladewater and Longview and many other cities devote time and energy to get toys donated or raise funds to buy toys in time for a child’s Christmas.

“We want to make sure that those children have a good Christmas as well. If you need help with Christmas, come sign up,” says Livingston.

Some of these drives, families need to pre-register to be eligible to receive toys for their children.

Toys for Tots information: Click here.

Salvation Army Angel Tree information: Click here.

Hiway 80 Rescue Mission information: Click here.

Mercy Manor information: Click here.