(WXYZ) — As the holidays start to inch closer by the day, the need for donations has never been greater.
Many non-profits like Toys for Tots are scrambling to help more children. They're struggling to make the 35,000 requests in metro Detroit a reality this year.
It's not too late to help, and Toys for Tots is desperate for your donations. They're 18,000 toys short this year and need all the help they can get.
"There are people that care that think about them, and want to see them do better for their children, and the children are our future," U.S. Marines Gunnery Sgt. Ratheone Mitchell said.
Mitchell is a logistical chief with the U.S. Marines and oversees the Toys for Tots program. They're in a crunch this year.
"This year for donations, we have received a lot of monetary donations, but not actual toys," he said.
In all, they're about 18,000 toys short, and they desperately need those toys to help support the other non-profits and agencies that help families in need.
In 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 34,000 toys were delivered to over 9,000 children in Macomb and Wayne County.
In Oakland County, the Farmington Hills Police Department held a "Stuff the Squad Car" event and filled up eight police cruisers with new, unwrapped toys that will go to children in need.
Mitchell said between the ages of 8 and 11, he benefited from the Toys for Tots program. It inspired him to want to do it one day.
"I was a simple child then. All I wanted was the little green men, the green tanks, and maybe some Ninja Turtles," he said. Being able to get those gifts restored my hope in life."
That's what Mitchell and many other Marines in Michigan and around the country are doing – restoring hope one toy at a time.
The Detroit Pistons have teamed up with Toys for Tots and on Tuesday, lucky families that have already been pre-selected will be receiving toy son behalf of Pistons Owner Tom Gores.