Little Smiles toy drive aims to make holidays special for thousands of kids

'We have a need right here in our community,' volunteer says
Posted at 6:26 PM, Nov 23, 2021

JUPITER, Fla. — Volunteers sorting through toys at the North Pole. It's actually the toy drive headquarters for Little Smiles in Jupiter. Melissa Kelley is a volunteer.

"We have a need right here in our community. I don't think people realize how big of a need we have and it's very important that we try to get toys out to all of our families," said Kelley.

Last year around this time, there were toy requests for almost 2,700 kids. This week there's almost 3,800. the requests are still pouring in.

"We know the need is greater than ever before," said Nicole Mercado, the executive director for Little Smiles. "People are still feeling the impact of the pandemic and of their personal situations and finances and job security and things like that. So we want to make sure every child is able to open up something for the holidays."

People are donating toys for younger kids, but Little Smiles says don't forget the teenagers.

"For the older kids we are always looking for things like sporting equipment, make-up kits, nail polish, blue tooth speakers, blue tooth headphones," Mercado said.

Monetary donations can also help the toy drive.

"We have quite a few give backs that are happening— corporate donations," said Mercado. "I just came from one earlier today and with those funds we can purchase toys that we need for the toy drive, but also to support our programming throughout the year. So, we are in the 32 facilities year round."

The organization looking forward to the holidays.

"It's so nice when we meet the families and they are so appreciative and they are so thankful," Mercado said. "It's really nice to get a chance to get to know the kids in our community."

For more information about toy donations, click here.