NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Last Minute Toy Store gives thousands of Nashville families an unforgettable Christmas each year, but COVID-19 has forced hundreds of them to be put on a waiting list.
“Because of COVID, businesses and companies all over town will usually do things like blue jeans on Fridays and collect gift cards if you want to wear jeans, or toy drives, and it just hasn’t happened this year,” said Dale Robble, president of the Last Minute Toy Store. “Right now, we’ve got 1,600 families and 6,000 children and more waiting to get helped.”
Some donations are coming in, but the organization is way behind compared to previous years. Registration for the 2020 event filled up in less than 48 hours and 500 are still hoping they will be taken off of the list.
The contactless event will happen December 17th-19th. Toys will be bagged prior and placed in the back of each family’s car, instead of the traditional shopping experience.
Normally, 1,000 volunteers help prepare their headquarters on Harding Place for the multi-day event. COVID-19 forced them to cut the number down to 300, no more than 40 per day working in separate shifts.
Soldiers from the 101st Airborne are some of the few helping; 20 helped on Friday, some for the first time. Their General says volunteerism is in their blood.
“I’m proud of the fact that this is our community,” said Col. Clair Gill, Deputy Commanding General for the 101st Airborne Division, Air Assault. This is where their kids are growing up and they are just serving back to the community.”
Toy donations for children less than a year old all the way up to 18 year-olds are desperately needed; $20 gift card donations are needed especially for teenagers.
Donations will be accepted on the following dates and times at the DCSO Service Center, 5117 Harding Place (donations can also be dropped at any DCSO location):
- Saturday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Sunday Dec. 6, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
- Saturday Dec.12, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 13, 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.
- Monday through Friday, Dec. 14 – 19, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.