NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In preparation for the Last Minute Toy Store's 28th year, the volunteer organization pleads for volunteers to help open the store to provide gifts for 7,500 children.
"[We have] as many as 50 a day outstanding slots. So those volunteers, some will be shopping for our guests. You'll take a list and it'll have the Santa's list from whoever and you will go through and fill a bag up for that child. Others will be taking that bag loaded into the car wishing them a Merry Christmas," explained Dale Robble, president of Last Minute Toy Store.
The Last Minute Toy Store began in 1993 but December 2021's toy store is set to be the biggest yet with 7,500 children to shop for. The store serves qualifying Davidson County children ages 0 to 18.
"There's a lot going on in our world today," said Robble. "Going through to shop for toys today and I mean prices, they're up, you know, they're up a lot. So, I even see that on the toy shelves trying to buy toys under $25—[it's] not real easy anymore."
Davidson County Sheriff's deputies helped the Last Minute Toy Store purchase nearly $25,000 worth of toys at Target Tuesday and the Scripps Howard Foundation donated $2,500 towards board games for the shopping trip.
"You look at some of the gifts requests that we get; we had a young lady asked for feminine products and a $5 gift card. So we have some of them asked for socks and a $5 toy, that something that's very minuscule. So and we see that in the 1,000s. So almost none of our children their wish lists are anything big. They're very small. And we do vet them," explained Robble. "This is not a free for all. This is not for kids who are spoiled, rotten. This is not for that at all. This is for those who truly must show a need."
"It's what we need in our community. We need more people loving other people caring about other people and the need is tremendous right now this year," explained Robble.
With more need means an even bigger emphasis on the need for volunteers to staff the toy shop that is set to open December 15 through 18.
"If you're grumpy and a Grinch, I mean you're not the kind of volunteer we want," stated Robble. "We just want people that are happy, loving, understand the spirit of Christmas and want to help children who otherwise wouldn't have a Christmas."
To sign up for a time slot to volunteer, click here.
Robble explained volunteering at the Last Minute Toy Store offers a personal experience:
"Where else can you donate a toy, come down volunteer and actually meet the people that are getting that toy, put it in their car, if you donate a bike, that bike goes in their car, that's unique experience, plus, working around people, just like all of us that that are not paid. We're doing this because we care about people in our community."
"You realize that somebody is gonna wake up and open that up and that's gonna make their day. So that's really what it's about for us, it's just making sure all of our children in this community know they're valued and they're loved," stated Robble. "We're not changing the world. But we are providing a Merry Christmas and the love of Jesus to as many children as needed."