ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE)- Saving Christmas, one man’s massive donation made sure New Mexico kids will have something under the tree this year.
With the big day here Toys for Tots volunteers prepared for hundreds to come through their doors. But this year officials didn’t know if they would be able to give them all gifts to take home for their kids.
“You know, just as of this morning I’m wondering, are we gonna have enough,” said Toys for Tots Coordinator Marine Staff Sgt. John Finney.
Times are tough. More families needed help this year and fewer donations came in.
Finney said, “I’m looking through my records like, where are we gonna find the money from and then, I get the phone call.”
The call was from Lucas Burnley, an Albuquerque knife maker.
Burnley said, “As a kid growing up, I used to get toys from Toys for Tots.”
For three years now, Burnley has raffled off some of his custom creations to raise money for Toys for Tots and this year his raffle exploded, raising $10,000 in just 24 hours; that money changed everything for Toys for Tots Saturday.
“Literally, he saved the day. I mean, I don’t know any other way to put it,” said Finney.
Burnley met up with the Marines to shop Saturday morning and used that $10,000 to make sure Toys for Tots wouldn’t run out. As bag after bag arrived, the room lit up.
Burnley himself even got to deliver a special present, a bike for a four-year-old boy with autism, overwhelming his father and sister.
“Words can’t describe it, really. We weren’t looking at having anything for the family this year, but this way, it’s come through,” said Keith Datson.
Burnley says he’s happy to help deliver hope, something someone once did for him.
The extra toys were enough to get Toys for Tots through their distribution day and there were even some left over to donate to other New Mexico charities to give out.
Last year, Burnley donated to Toys for Tots in Boston, where his fiancée is from but he said this year he wanted to help out Albuquerque kids.