CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
At the US Marine Corps Reserve Center in Charlotte troops are preparing their battle gear, HMMWV trucks and even their battleships.
"When they see that Marine presence it makes them more generous to actually do versus just having a box out there and not seeing anybody out there collecting a toy," said Gunnery Sergeant Montreal Johnson.
But this is a different mission, one a bit more peaceful and sure to bring many smiles.
"I spent $3000 that day buying toys for children," said Johnson.
These Marines are helping less fortunate kids of Charlotte through their annual Toy for Tots Campaign.
And the Corp says our fragile economy has increased the need in our community.
"We're trying to help those individual families out," said Gunnery Sergeant Johnson.
So far the Marine Corp has collected close to 1000 gifts but that's still not enough.
"As of right we need now roughly 10 thousand," said Johnson.
They're looking for solid, new toys that will last and they should be unwrapped.
This year there is a special need.
"We are in great need of toys for the older children," said Gunnery Sergeant Johnston.
"Granted we'll take whatever we can take but we are looking for ages eight and above."
There are over 60 nonprofit organizations requesting toys this year from the Marines.
It's a very tough order to fill.
"That lets me know the need through the community is fairly high this year," said the sergeant.
But with your help these Marines know their mission will be accomplished.
For a complete list of Toys for Tots drop off locations log on to www.toysfortots.org
The Marines will be accepting donations until December 14th.
You can also help by making a cash donation.