Local Toys for Tots in jeopardy if coordinator isn’t replaced

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – We’re more than 6 months away from Christmas, and the holiday might be a little more sad for children in Northeast Indiana.

Local Toys for Tots coordinator Sunny Helstrom is leaving the position after nearly 20 years. If no one takes over, the annual toy drive might not happen.

Toys for Tots provides new toys for children ages newborn to 14 in Allen, DeKalb, Steuben, and Huntington counties during the holiday season. Hundreds of toys are donated to the organization, but it takes someone to organize it all. For nearly 2 decades, that’s been Helstrom.

“When I do the Toys for Tots, I’m doing it for the children. And I believe that children that they need to know that they’ve not been forgotten,” says Sunny.

The 2019 Toys for Tots campaign was the last for Helstrom. She’s made the decision to leave her position.

“My husband and I both officially retired. And we are moving to southern Indiana to be closer to our children and grand children.”

She says the decision wasn’t easy. The completely volunteer position that needs filled will only focus on the thousands of kids that receive toys in Allen County.

Helstrom says the volunteer position is not always easy, but if she can do it, any one can.

“And I think someone has to love people, has to love children, of course, and believe in what they’re doing, as far as helping the less fortunate children in that area.”

Helstrom says it is extremely rewarding, and she encourages some one to step up and take over.

“To me, it’s just important because, I don’t want to see a child, I think every child deserves a little Christmas. I think it’s very important… something for a child to have at Christmas time to lift their spirits, just give them a little hope.”

If you would like to learn more about taking over this position, you can reach out to Sunny via email at: fortwaynetoysfortots@gmail.com.

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