COEUR d'ALENE - Children of low-income families will have a Christmas after all.
After an outpouring from the community, the Kootenai County Toys for Tots has found locations to accept and distribute toy donations just in time for the holidays.
"It's wonderful," said Mike Milligan, coordinator of the Pappy Boyington Marine Corps League Detachment that operates the program. "I was on pins and needles for a while."
Toys for Tots had been on the brink of not happening this year due to lack of venue, when the usual distribution site at a vacant Riverstone store became unavailable.
But several entities offered help after hearing of the nonprofit's plight, Milligan said.
"Toys for Tots is very appreciative of that," he said. "We just found a great combination of facilities."
The program has secured two venues to receive applications and then pass out donated items.
Families will be able to apply for help from the nonprofit at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds, located at 4056 North Government Way, in the red building just past the main gate.
Folks can fill out applications there from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, from Dec. 1 through Dec. 17.
"That's three Saturdays with two full weeks in between. That should do quite well," said Milligan, who has predicted the nonprofit will serve 12 percent more children than the 2,645 last year.
Applications must be submitted in person, he added.
The nonprofit will later distribute toy donations out of the Kootenai County Fire and Rescue training facility, at 5271 East Seltice Way.
Folks will be able to pick up donations for their families from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, from Dec. 18 to Dec. 29.
Every child will receive multiple toys and books, Milligan said.
"We try to give as many toys as we can to every child who needs them," he said.
Families must meet qualifications to receive new toys and books through Toys for Tots, such as proof that they are on some form of public assistance.
Milligan expressed gratitude to the multitude of entities that reached out to support the nonprofit.
"Every child deserves a Christmas," he said. "We just feel there are a lot of parents who are struggling. If we can help them provide a joyous and happy Christmas for their children, it's what we want to do."