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The government shutdown could affect kids this upcoming holiday season. The Marine Corps Toys and Tots program, which gives needy children Christmas gifts, is experiencing a shortage of donations. YNN's Jessica Chen explains.
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -- Joe McGuiness said every child deserves a Christmas gift.
"I like to help the kids as much as possible," said McGuiness.
That's why for the last five years, he and other veteran Marines from the Marine Corps League Temple Hill Detachment 249 have set up collection sites in Orange County for the Toys for Tots Program.
"Toys for Tots, for me, is close to my heart," he said.
But with the government shutdown this year, they're hitting a setback. Less money is coming in because active Marines are not able to help due to furloughs. He said Marines are needed to cash in check donations to buy gifts and just their presence alone at the collection sites, he said, draws in more donations.
"Once they’re in uniform and they’re standing by us, that’s when the money starts to come in a lot faster," said McGuiness.
He said they typically set up their Toys for Tots table outside of Adam's Fairacre Farms in Newburgh. McGuiness said they can collect anywhere between $800 to $1,000 a day, but with the government shutdown, that number has dropped almost 40 percent. In addition, the Marines are not able to help transport gifts to their Newburgh armory for distribution.
"Toys for Tots can’t function under the furlough, which is crazy," said Mark Wheeler, General Manager of Adam's Fairacre Farms in Newburgh.
So to help, Wheeler and his team are using their cars to transport gifts to the armory this year.
"We’re going to make all those trips down to make sure the toys get down to the retired Marines," said Wheeler.
All to ensure children will be able to open Christmas gifts this year, despite the government being shut down.