LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — The 12th annual Stuff the Bus campaign got underway Thursday in Scranton.
The County of Lackawanna Transportation System (COLTS) and the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program join forces every year to collect gifts for kids in our area.
The collection effort started in November at various businesses and organizations throughout the county.
Sgt. Adam Vasquez with the U.S. Marine Corps has stood outside the Lackawanna Transit Center waving to drivers and accepting donations on far colder, snowier days than this one.
"When it gets really windy, it can get a little tough, but it's worth it when you think about it, and when you see the toys come in, you see the community giving back, it's worth it," Sgt. Vasquez said.
Sgt. Vasquez has taken part in the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program for most of his life.
"It's for the families, seeing them really appreciative, sometimes teary-eyed even. It's really for that for the kids, for the families."
For the 12th year, the Marines are joining forces with COLTS to "Stuff the Bus" with gifts for kids.
"Just to ensure that the kids, when they wake up on that morning, they have a little present to open and their parents can see the little smile that they have," said Staff Sgt. Salvatore Dely.
Businesses throughout Lackawanna County have been collecting gifts in donation boxes since November, but it all wraps up with one marathon day of donating.
"We're also asking people if you haven't purchased your toys yet to think about children ages 7 to 14 because those donations are lacking a little bit this year," said COLTS official Gretchen Wintermantel. "We're just hoping people are as generous as they have been in the past."
People can stop by the Lackawanna Transit Center on Lackawanna Avenue with a gift between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday or Courthouse Square from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.