Christmas Toy and Joy Project, Salem-Keizer’s largest toy drive, lost its biggest donor and is now rapidly searching for more donations in time for Christmas.

The Salvation Army run project is seeking to provide at least 1000 families in the Salem-Keizer area with Christmas dinner and gifts.

Last Christmas the project reached that goal, providing for 1,059 local families. The Salvation Army is concerned that goal will not be met this year, after their largest donor, accounting for 80 percent of donations, chose to provide for a statewide drive instead.

“We have always been the main source of toys for the Salem-Keizer area,” Melissa Baurer, family services and shelter coordinator for The Salvation Army, said. “We’re just praying that it all works out.”

The organization is receiving help from new partners, including I-5 Entertainment and Sysco. The goal is to increase the number of toy barrels from 40 last year to more than 60 this year. Tricia Hande with Sysco Food Services encouraged several local restaurants to help donate food for the drive.

There are many places in the community where people can help meet the goal by donating.

Walmart will host two Fill the Truck events to collect toys for the drive: November 29 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Turner Road store and December 13 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Turner Road and Commercial street stores.

On December 6 the Salem Fire Department will host a toy drive at Shopko from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., where families can take photos with Santa.

“It’s been a long-standing tradition to have a toy drive

Angel is a Journalism student, finishing her last undergrad year at Corban University. She digs listening to The Black Keys, reading old smelly books, drinking cappuccinos, collecting quotes, and writing about grace. She would love to start her own print/online publication that would document people's stories and experiences.