JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — While fall may be in full swing, the holiday season is just around the corner, and News Channel 11 has joined an initiative that is in the works to ensure every child can experience the joy and excitement of receiving gifts.

“We look for volunteers starting in October to help us as much as they can,” said Toys for Tots lead program coordinator Jeremiah James. “They help sort toys, they help distribute toys [and] they help count toys. Once we get our warehouse locked on, that’s what we’ll be looking for next is volunteers to come help us.”

Marine Toys for Tots collects toys and goodies from community members to distribute to children of low-income families.

“The mission of Toys for Tots is about bringing joy and happiness to kids during the Christmas season for the less fortunate kids and making sure they have toys on Christmas morning,” said James.

Local coordinators help arrange the promotion, collection and delivery throughout the program’s process — the community does the rest.

“We couldn’t have this program without the community,” said James. “The community basically runs it; we are just here to facilitate. Getting as much community support as we can get — the better. It’s great to see the community come out to help less fortunate kids.”

Toys for Tots kicks off Oct. 1; however, a warehouse is still needed to store the items until distribution.

“Right now, our program can’t even start unless we get a warehouse locked on,” said James. “It’ll be the essential location for collecting toys where we sort toys and count. We are trying to get one really bad right now.”

Last year, the initiative collected over 13,000 toys distributed to a little over 6,000 families in the area. For the 2022 season, organizers hope to make an even greater impact.

“We’re just looking for this season to be bigger and better than last year and to help as many kids as possible,” said James.

In addition to toy donations, those who want to help can also make virtual donations by clicking here.

Additional information regarding how you can help will be released at a later date.