Toys for Tots
SCRANTON , PENNSYLVANIA (WNEP-TV) - Santa and some honorary elves are making sure thousands of children in the Poconos have presents to open this Christmas.
Toys were piled high at a Pocono Mountain school district maintenance facility near Mount Pocono.
There was a mountain of stuffed animals and board games galore, all collected for the Monroe County Toys for Tots program.
Santa is a little busy this time of year and needed some help from the volunteers, so he made them honorary elves.
"By the power vested in me by Santa Clauses past, present and future, I deputize you into the ancient order of Elves of the Christmas Tree. Say 'I believe," he said.
The volunteers gathered gifts to be distributed to needy children.
John Dickson, a former Marine, is called the Toy Man. It takes him all year to collect all the presents, an estimated $45-50,000 worth of toys.
"It's a mission of the Marine Corps and the saying, 'Once a Marine, always a Marine.' It's in our hearts, it's in our blood. We have to do this," said John Dickson, the Monroe County Toys for Tots coordinator.
" Walt Disney, when he designed the Toys for Tots train, he put in the puff of smoke, 'Every child deserves a little Christmas.' In Monroe County, we believe every child deserves a Christmas, so that's what we live by," added Dickson.
About 5,000 children will have a happy holiday this year thanks to the Monroe County Toys for Tots program. With tens of thousands of toys collected, those children will have several presents to open on Christmas morning.
"It feels really good," said eight-year-old Madison Torregrossa. "Getting the tags and looking for special gifts."
This is the second year Madison Torregrossa and her family have come to help pack gifts for other children.
"I'm fortunate enough that our family doesn't know this need, so I think it's real important for my kids to understand that there's others out there that need our help," said Madison's mother, Becca Torregrossa of Mount Pocono.
"Somebody's going to appreciate it, somebody's going to open it Christmas morning and have a smile on their face, and that's what it's all about," said volunteer Blaine Fardella of Bartonsville.
The sacks of toys will soon be delivered by area agencies to local children in need.
Copyright 2016 WNEP-TV
Updated 2015 days ago Article ID# 793227
Toys for Tots