PITTSFIELD — On Saturday morning people were driving up to the old county jail on Second Street and handing bags full of new toys and warm clothes to strangers. Then they would drive away.
It must be Christmas season in Berkshire County.
The Toys for Tots campaign is back, and according to Berkshire County coordinator Chris Keegan, it is sorely needed this year because so many parents are out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re hoping to fill the gaps left by the virus going around,” Keegan said.
The pandemic had forced the drive to cut down the number of locations with donor boxes, so Saturday’s effort was especially important, he noted.
Keegan is a member of the Marine Corps League Pittsfield Detachment 137.
The corps league has traditionally played a major role in the Toys for Tots campaign, and the old jail serves as a handy staging area for storing, sorting and packing the donations to be delivered to local families.
Saturday, Keegan, four officers from the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department and a half dozen other volunteers were there to help donors hand off the donations.
The target age for the donations is newborn to 14 years old, Keegan said.
Last year, the drive served about 2,600 children with roughly 15,000 toys.
“This year though, we’re anticipating a higher number of kids in need,” Keegan noted.