Sentinel Staff report
WATSONVILLE -- Toys for Tots is in trouble.
Since 1989, the holiday drive has put gifts under thousands of trees in Santa Cruz County. Last year alone, the campaign distributed 11,000 toys to 8,000 children.
This year, Santa's helpers are desperately in need of donated warehouse space to store, sort, assemble and distribute toys and bicycles.
Coordinator Delilah Valadez said after extensive outreach hasn't turned up space, she's looking for a miracle to ensure that firefighters and other volunteers can bring the North Pole to life here.
What's needed is about 7,000 square feet of space in South County, with parking and exclusive use of a utility door from mid-November through the first week in January.
Toys for Tots does not distribute gifts directly, Valadez said, but instead partners with 30 nonprofit agencies, which depend on the drive to give their clients some holiday cheer.
Volunteers have perfected a system for packaging and filling each agency's list during seven or eight nights of work, and they need the right amount of space to keep to the timetable, she said.
Valadez asks anyone who can help by donating space or with the search to find some to contact her at email@example.com or go to santacruzcounty.toysfortots.org. A list of drop-off sites for donated toys also is available on the website.