Thousands of children in rural Appalachia will get to pick out a Christmas gift this year, thanks to Mission of Hope-- and you.
Tomorrow is the last day you can add your donation to the Mission of Hope blue barrels around town.
Volunteers hope this weekend will be the final push they need to get their trucks stocked and on their way to schools.
Inside the Mission of Hope warehouse volunteer Bill Deitch sorts toys in to age groups.
Separating the toddler toys from pre-k gives an extra moment of contemplation, that leaves you wondering about the child who will get it.
"It's really unbelievable the excitement that they have," says Deitch, whose gone on several distribution trips. "For some of these it's virtually the only toy that they will get."
After three years with Mission of Hope, Deitch says it seems the gifts came in slower this season.
"While we're getting a lot of toys, we're not getting nearly as many as I've seen in the last couple years."
Over the next three days the MOH trucks will pick up more than 500 blue barrels. The donations will go to serve more than 17,000 children and their families at twenty seven Appalachian schools.
The first delivery of toys will arrive for an early Christmas at a Kentucky school on Monday, and it will bring more than gifts.
"Food is one of the most special, probably, parts of our Christmas program because it goes to those in the most dire need where we're going," says MOH Executive Director Emmett Thompson.
He calls ahead to each school's principal and asks he or she to identify the neediest families. MOH volunteers then box up about fifty pounds of canned and dried goods to donate to each family.
As the mission continues to grow, he says the need more monetary donations.
"After all our barrels come in and we've emptied those out we can have a better feel," says Thompson. "And normally that means we've got some serious power shopping to do."
But there's no task too tall with volunteers and a Mission of Hope.