SPOKANE, Wash. – When Santa can't do it all, sometimes parents need a little help.
Parents like Amanda Richey. She and her husband have three young kids, and have relied on Toys for Tots in years past, but this year Amanda became a nursing assistant. With a good job, she was excited to finally buy gifts on her own for the first time.
But then, her world came crashing down last month.
"I was on my way to work, got T-boned, totaled my car, missed two weeks of work, and it's been really hard to get back on my feet," she said.
Now, she's looking for a Christmas miracle.
"I don't even like to talk about Christmas, because it's really depressing. I can't even get my kids one thing," she said. "I don't have lights for my Christmas tree, I don't have a star for my Christmas tree, I can't pay my rent, I can't pay electricity. Everything's gone wrong, one thing after another,"
The Richey's are just one of 7,000 families asking for a Christmas miracle in the Inland Northwest, but the donations aren't coming in this year like they normally do. Now, Santa's elves down at the Toys for Tots warehouse are running weeks behind schedule.
"I've been there before, so I know how they feel," said USMC Sgt. Aaron Vega, who helps run Toys For Tots.
As a kid, his parents needed some help making Christmas happen, and now he works to help make sure other kids have the same opportunity.
And while the Marines say they never fail a mission – this mission is getting tight. Usually at this point in the year, some 4,500 families have been helped. But this year? Only about 2,800 have.
"I've been here 16 years, I've never seen it not completed," said warehouse volunteer of 16 years Dino Dominguez. "But this year it's making me really raise my eyebrow if we're really going to complete this mission."
As for the Richey family, little 3-year-old Madison is holding on to her Christmas spirit. She told us, "Christmas isn't ruined… because it's snowing."
Toys For Tots is in desperate need of donations of toys, games, and stuffed animals, and because of their discounts with partnering agencies, cash donations go especially far in making a little kid's Christmas dream come true.
Other ways to help out: volunteer your time, or food for volunteers who eat lunch at the warehouse every day.
IMPORTANT FACEBOOK POST JUST IN FROM Jennifer Grant: Good morning. I'm starting my day at toys for tots. As I'm stocking shelves I notices that we have nothing for girls 9-11, there are literally 5 items. We are also very very short on girls 12-15, boys 9-15. We need help or we won't be able to get orders done. Please help Spokane and give all these kids a Christmas.
Requests No. 1 - 2750 are ready for pickup on Thursday
Toys for Tots Warehouse Address:
106 E. Francis Ave.
Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday toy pickup 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.