Gainesville church raises money for Toys for Tots one week ahead of distribution day

Published: Dec. 12, 2021 at 8:07 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Residents across North Central Florida are getting into the holiday spirit while making Christmas special for children in need.

CityLight Church in Gainesville held the “Light Up The Night” event as a way to raise funds for Toys For Tots.

One official with the organization said they’ve definitely seen less donations than usual this year.

At the event, community members could enjoy food trucks, live entertainment, and even meet Santa Clause.

“This is about kids, Christmas, and toys so hopefully we’re bringing smiles to people’s faces that maybe in a season where there wouldn’t ordinarily be as many smiles on Christmas morning,” said Dennis Wait, the Toys for Tots Coordinator for Alachua County.

Wait said this year, when volunteers have gone shopping for toys, they’ve noticed a 15 to 20% increase in prices.

“So we’re hoping to fill up the buckets for toys for tots we’re hoping that they receive just an overflow of toys so they can take those and give them away to the families who need them,” said Allison Wicker, a member of the church who helped plan the event.

Officials said item shortages in stores, as well as increased prices, have impacted their donation collection.

“So I know if it’s affecting us and our purchases, it’s probably affecting the community’s purchases as well,” said Wait.

Volunteers will distribute the toys next weekend on the 18th and 19th to families that have been approved for Toys For Tots.

“Our hearts just overflow with joy when we get to help others and make Christmas special for them,” said Wicker.

If you would like to donate, click on the link on our homepage for more locations where you can drop off your donations.

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