Billings, Montana – According to the people who organize Toys for Tots, the demand for Christmas presents is even higher this year than it was in previous years.
In the spirit of giving during the holiday season, the families of two local businessmen went out shopping together.
Sean Heenan, who was only ten years old at the time, went shopping for Christmas presents for other children.
“Kind of like fill up the cart and like take it over here and the like go through the line, check things out,” Sean Heenan said about the shopping.
Over the course of the past five years, the families associated with the law firm Heenan and Cook have contributed more than fifty thousand dollars worth of toys and other items to the Toys for Tots program.
At the west end Target on Monday night, the company offered to match the donations of anyone who wished to contribute.
“One of my favorite moments of Christmas,” Sean’s dad John Heenan said. “It’s really humbling. Just a great thing to be a part of. And I realized my blessings and really kind of see this community come together.”
Joe Cook, who is a law partner of John Heenan, sent a substitute to speak on their behalf.
“I couldn’t leave John out here by himself,” said Justin “McLovin” Hutchinson. “So I said hey, sign me up and ready to go. Getting to spread that Christmas joy even if just for the one day, the one present, even just getting those children the opportunity to open a gift on Christmas morning, I think it’s just so huge.”
Toys for Tots was established in 1947 by a Marine, and it continues to be a significant and important program for those currently serving in the United States Marine Corps.
“There’s a lot of people that come up and thank us for our service,” said Marine Captain Christien Oman. “But at the end of the day, we wouldn’t be able to do what we get to do without their support. And this is a great way that we get to kind of give back and be involved in the community.”
This year, Toys for Tots will provide assistance to approximately 1,400 families in Billings, which is home to approximately 4,000 children.
They anticipate that it will be a very rewarding and satisfying experience for them when they hand out the toys to the parents from December 12th through the 16th at the MetraPark.
“There’s always that one mom or that one dad that is just walking around real silent and just tears and just so grateful for the opportunity to provide a Christmas for their kids,” said Marine Staff Sgt. Sean Arndt. “That one person makes it worth it for me.”
“Really fun just to know that you’ll make someone’s day doing it,” said Sean Heenan. “You spend a little bit of time that’ll make someone happy.”
According to Arndt, families have until this coming Saturday, December 10, to sign up for toys, and donations are accepted throughout the entire year.