NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Nashville program that provides Christmas gifts to thousands of local kids is making adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure it can still help families in need.
The Last Minute Toy Store provides new toys and gifts for families who have not been helped by, or missed the deadlines for Middle Tennessee’s other Christmas charities and organizations.
Normally, tables at the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office Service Center are overflowing with toys, sporting goods, books and games for kids of all ages. Parents can shop for their children for free.
While the way gifts are collected and distributed will look different this year, organizers say the mission is still the same.
"COVID has changed a lot of things, and it's changing Christmas too," said Dale Robble, president of the Last Minute Toy Store. "It really quickly became not a question of if, but how we will do it."
Robble said all families will register online this year and provide a wish list of gifts. Volunteers will shop for the items and collect them in giant bags. Guests can pick up the gifts during a touchless drive-thru event.
Online registration opened Nov. 1 and was full in 48 hours. About 1,500 families signed up to participate in the program.
"We’re seeing right now the need is enormous," said Robble.
Robble said there are also concerns about having enough toys to make sure kids in need have a merry Christmas. Many groups host toy and donation drives throughout the year, but those events were canceled due to the pandemic.
Robble encouraged members of the community to step up and help. Individuals who shop for donations can drop them off at a drive-thru at the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office Service Center on Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to noon and Dec. 6 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. All gifts donated will go directly to local families who qualified for the program.
"We don't want any child to wake up and not have Christmas," said Robble.
The store will be open Dec. 17, 18, 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
For more information visit: https://www.lastminutetoystore.com/