Toys for Tots is in the final week for families to sign up, and John Deere employees lent a helping hand to sort, count and bag toy donations.

Chelsi Converse is a John Deere employee. “We’re out here volunteering for Toys for Tots today on behalf of John Deere. We have our large team here today, 30 to 40 people,” Converse said. “It means so much, especially the holiday season. We know that people struggle through the season, and it means a lot that we can come out on behalf of the company and give back to the community.”

Toys for Tots needs volunteer help, especially on the last week of collecting donations. “They’re sorting and counting, and bagging up toys for the children this year,” Sgt. Alec Smith, a Toys for Tots coordinator, said. “We need all of the help we can get in terms of volunteers and in terms of donations.”

The Quad-City community is focused on supporting the cause. “Everyone in the community wants to come out and help,” Sarah Decker, a Toys for Tots Event Coordinator, said. “We appreciate it because there’s a giant need right now. The community has been so supportive, just wanting to do an event every weekend. Last weekend we had five events on the same day.”

“We definitely love giving back to the community,” Converse said. “And John Deere really supports us in that and all their employees. It’s great for us to get out of the office sometimes and be together as a group.”

Last year, Toys for Tots supported more that 6,000 children with toys across six counties in Illinois and Iowa. This year, Sgt. Smith wants to beat that number; so far, Toys for Tots will serve 5,200 children who have signed up through Toys for Tots directly, and another 2,400 from other area agencies Toys for Tots supports. “Last year was my first year in charge of this program,” Smith said. “It really melted my heart that so many people contributed to making this program work, whether it be through volunteering or through donations.”

Online registration to receive toys from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves’ Toys for Tots program closes Friday, November 24, and in-person verification ends Sunday, December 3. For more information and to register, click here.