Marty Pay of Farmers Insurance reports he broke last year’s record of 803 toys collected for the annual Toys For Tots donation drive. As of Wednesday morning, Pay said he received 805 toys, officially meeting this year’s goal.
"I think this is exciting, because we had a shortened season this year to pick up toys. In the middle of COVID, this town was still able to get over 800 toys, and that's incredible. It just shows you Tehachapi. It shows you our town," Pay said.
Each year, Pay gives Santa Claus a helping hand by hosting drives in July and before Christmas.
"People just kept on bringing toys, and as of five minutes ago, we exceeded our goal," Pay said Wednesday morning.
The United States Marine Corps' Toys For Tots program believes that all children are well-deserving, and Pay has been doing his part to bring Christmas magic to less fortunate children for the past several years.
Normally, Pay drops off the toys at the elementary schools for distribution. However, due to the pandemic and school closures, Pay dropped off this year's donations at the Salvation Army.
"They end up giving a lot of the toys to the Salvation Army anyways," Pay said.
Donation boxes were found at Tehachapi Martial Arts and Outsource Utility Corp., Country Real Estate, Tehachapi Area Association of Realtors, City of Tehachapi, Tehachapi Police Department, Tehachapi Treasure Trove, Bank of the West, Circle K, Bear Valley Realty, Miramar International, Edward Jones and Francisco Garcia.
Everyone who made a toy donation received a chance for a number of great prizes such as gift certificates from Mill Street Kitchen, Jake's Steakhouse, Red House BBQ and a 50-inch television donated by Stuart Nacht of Sage Ranch.