According to Staff Sgt. Harry Easter of the Marines Corps Toys for Tots program, as of Friday the organization's Concord warehouse was short more than 45,000 toys to meet the needs of the charities it assists. "We're starting to get more, but they're coming a lot later than last year," Easter said. "We're filling orders as fast as we can once we get toys."
Locally, the Brentwood Regional Community Chest distributes 550 Christmas baskets to local families every year. In recent years, the BRCC has partnered with Toys for Tots and other local charities to meet local needs. "Residents of far East County have always generously supported our program, and we're hoping they'll do it again this year," said BRCC Vice President Rick Lemyre. "We're asking for donations to be dropped off this week at one of our barrels located in stores everywhere, or at fire stations 52 in Brentwood or 59 Discovery Bay.
"We're distributing our Christmas baskets next weekend, so the need is now," Lemyre said.
Station 52's address is 201 John Muir Parkway in Brentwood. Station 59 is located at 1685 Bixler Road in Discovery Bay.
Volunteers are also needed for the big sorting and distribution efforts this weekend. Families, churches, Scout troops and individuals are encouraged to turn out to help at Brentwood Elementary School, 200 Griffith Lane. Helpers are needed Friday, Dec. 14 from 4 to 8 p.m., and Saturday from about 8 a.m. to noon.