The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve kicked off its annual Toys For Tots campaign at its new space in Clifton Park Thursday, with a promise to aim big during what will be the 10th year of collecting toys for area children.
Toys For Tots previously operated out of a building in Schenectady at 1482 Erie Blvd. That building was owned by Schenectady businessman Ray LeGere, who donated the first-floor space to the organization.
But that space has since been rented to a permanent tenant, according to Capital Region Toys for Tots coordinator Gunnery Sgt. Vinny Roman. Now, the campaign is based at 21st Century Park Drive in Clifton Park in a warehouse directly behind Starpoint Church.
At a press conference Thursday in the warehouse to celebrate the start of the campaign, Roman said having space to store the toys is crucial.
"This warehouse has been vital for us. It's phenomenal," he said.
The goal, Roman said, is to deliver toys and coats to 200,000 children in time for the holidays.
Dunkin' Donuts also announced plans Thursday to continue its partnership with Toys For Tots. Over the past 10 years, Dunkin’ Donuts has donated $290,000 to the organization.
This year, Dunkin Donuts, as it has in the past, donated $30,000, with 25,000 going toward the purchase of toys and the remaining $5,000 paying for coats.
The Toys for Tots collection and distribution area stretches from the Canadian border to just south of the Capital Region. There are more than 400 drop-off locations in that region, including more than 100 Dunkin' Donuts shops.
The Marine Corps Reserves’ Dunkin’ Toys for Tots Train will travel from Binghamton to Delanson to distribute the toys and winter coats on Dec. 1. The second leg of the journey -- between Saratoga Springs and Rouses Point -- will begin on Dec 9.
Law enforcement organizations will also contribute to Toys For Tots this year. Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo, at Thursday's press conference, said his department donated more than $40,000 in toys over the past five years.
"There were 21,000 toys donated last year," he said.
"Toys For Tots will meet its goal this year." Roman said. "We will reach out to every child who deserves a Christmas. We will not fail."
Those who wish to donate can bring new, unwrapped toys to any designated collection point.
The Capital Region Toys for Tots program serves Albany, Broome, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Washington and Warren counties.