Volunteers Jeremy Pullen, front, and Lauren Lee, back, both with Coca-Cola, bag toys at the Toys for Tots Warehouse in Norcross on Friday. (Staff Photos: Deanna Allen)
NORCROSS — It’s an expansive warehouse, nothing out of the ordinary most of the year, but it’s used to bring happiness to children in need this holiday season.
It’s the Toys for Tots sorting and distribution hub in Norcross, where volunteers sort thousands upon thousands of toys by gender and age, place 10 toys in each black, plastic bag and fill orders and requests from area nonprofit organizations that then distribute the toys to families struggling to provide Christmas for their children.
Over the next seven days, until Dec. 22, warehouse chief Kelly Teague estimates more than 400,000 toys will come into the warehouse through six bays and go out through seven.
“Just the amount, the volume of toys we deal with on a day-to-day basis, I think it would be really surprising to someone who’s never done this,” Teague said.
On Friday, about 20,000 toys came into the warehouse, and so far, more than 1,500 volunteers have had a hand in making children’s Christmases a little merrier. More volunteers are expected over the next week.
Ryan Janczewski, a district sales manager with Coca-Cola, and his sales team volunteered Friday to sort and bag toys.
“We figured this would be a great opportunity to give back to the community this time of year,” he said. “Many of us on our team have children. We know what it’s like to see the smile on their faces for Christmas, so we knew we’d probably be bringing a lot of smiles, hundreds, if not thousands, of smiles just by spending a couple hours volunteering.”