The US Marine Corps Reserve Toys 4 Tots distribution site in Harlingen is a Mecca for children.
It's a vast Toyland where piles of dolls and balls aren't measured in actual numbers rather the smiles they will eventually bring to those who will love them this Christmas.
Ryan Wolf: "How does it make you feel holding a stuffed animal in your hand that will someday soon make a kid smile?"
Irma Garcia: "Very happy... Because I know the need that is out there for them... I know what this means to them."
South Texas Monitoring Systems or STMS is one of a dozen agencies who turned to the drop off location on Friday afternoon to collect toys for the less-fortunate they serve.
Bags full of stuffed animals will go to children who need continuous medical care.
Irma Garcia, who works for STMS, said the toys represent hope and happiness. "I know what this means to them," she said. But just as new toys get unloaded outside the building along the 800 block of West Harrison Avenue; more trucks arrived with new social service agency workers to pick them up. Staff Sergeant Luis Cordova with the US Marine Corps Reserves said keeping up with the demand this year has been tougher than ever. He said the realization that not everyone will get a toy is often difficult to deal with it, but his passion to serve the community keeps his motivation high. "If you haven't donated to Toys 4 Tots, there's still time," SSgt. Cordova said. "We still have 2 weeks for Toys 4 Tots... we're gonna make it happen." A line of people walking toys out the door appeared to be a never-ending sight.
One group of workers from Nios Head Start will hand out nearly 3-thousand toys to children across Cameron and Willacy Counties. Joey Carrizales, Director of Human Resources for Nios Head Start, said every year he's overcome with joy thanks to generous donations from the public. "It's beautiful... it's great... I think about the children and how it's gonna make them feel," Carrizales said. Donations are still being accepted at select Toys 4 Tots drop off locations. Marines expect to collect and distribute toys all the way leading up to Christmas Day.