Saratoga County, New York (News 10) — With Christmas just 48 days away, the Capital Region Toys for Tots saw a surge in donations thanks to more than a hundred cars, all filled with toys, that took to the streets of Saratoga County for Convoy for Tots’ eighth annual party.
The event began at Ballston Spa High School, where vehicles lined up and a one-day food drive took place. “It’s the public. The public sees the need to help these kids, and every year it gets bigger and bigger and bigger,” said Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zorlo.
The Tots Caravan, set up by emergency services agencies across the county to benefit local children, is the culmination of children’s play campaigns hosted by first responders at the county level.
“These are volunteers who dedicate their time, experience and knowledge to get outside in their spare time,” said Patrick Lorenz of Capital Region Toys for Tots.
For the third time, this year’s event was led by Grand Marshal Sir Ken Pelly, a local WWII veteran who fought at the Battle of Bolge.
“It is for a good cause, make the kids happy for Christmas. That way, they will have something to look forward to.”
Once everyone was loaded and lined up, the convoy headed to Route 50 with trucks loaded with toys headed from school to SPAC. Crowds of people lined up along the road to wave and take a look as more than a hundred vehicles drove along the road.
“It’s not only one of the largest and only one of that size in the country, it’s definitely one of the biggest that we do,” Lorenz explained.
The scale of what this event has become is something that organizers never expected when the event first started eight years ago. In the inaugural convoy, about 30 cars participated in more than 1,000 rides. Now, millions of dollars worth of toys have been donated over the years.
“When we got these 1,400 toys in year one, which filled two pickup trucks, we were thrilled. Seeing them develop this far and knowing that here in Saratoga County we can support their big mission in the 16 counties, Stephen Gordon, Director of Emergency Communications, said, I think they serve, which is massive.
Once the caravan has finished its journey, boxes upon boxes of toys are loaded into a tractor trailer, all ready to help cheer up a local family this holiday season.
In all, tens of thousands of toys will likely be donated during this event to Capital Region Toys for Tots.
Sheriff Zorlu took a minute after the caravan was completed to thank everyone who played a role in the event.