WACO, Texas (KWTX) -- A contingent of Marines assembled Tuesday morning at the Franklin Avenue Walmart store in Waco, Texas and spent $10,000 to purchase more than 1,000 toys for the annual Toys for Tots campaign.
Sgt. Thomas Brackett is helping lead the drive this year.
“It's something that you almost see on TV that you never would think would ever happen to you. So it's very, very satisfying to walk up to a shelf, wrap your arms around about 20 different toys and just empty it all into your basket,” Brackett said.
The Marines were each assigned the task of shopping for certain genders and age groups and to pick out 100 toys with price tags of less than $20.
“The first goal being a Marine is being competitive, I always want to help more kids than the last year and so far this year, it's working out,” Brackett said.
Store manager Rudy Garcia says Walmart contributed a grant because he says it’s an honor to help the Marines with such a worthwhile cause.
“Understanding that there may be some without, when you see your children’s eyes, it’s magical on Christmas morning and to be able to help out with that and ensure other children experience the same is what it's all about,” Garcia said.
The toys were all taken back to a center where they’ll be sorted out before they’re distributed on Dec. 17.
KWTX, the Salvation Army and the U.S. Marine Corps have worked together since 1991 to put gifts under the tree for children who might not otherwise receive presents.
This year 5,370 children are registered for Toys for Tots, and the donation deadline on Dec. 13 is looming.
Individuals, organizations and businesses contribute to the cause.
Di'amore Fine Jewelers, for example, is donating a portion of its December sales to Toys for Tots.