PLATTSBURGH - The annual Toys for Tots Holiday Train rolled into the Amtrak station in Plattsburgh last weekend, but it was the Christmas that almost wasn't.
According to Eric Stensland, field marketing manager for Dunkin' Donuts, the corporation came to the aid of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation following reports the Toys for Tots train was in financial crisis this holiday season. It was the first time since its inaugural run more than 10 years ago, said Stensland, the Toys for Tots train was in jeopardy of being derailed due to lack of financial support.
The train, donated by Canadian Pacific Railway, lost a key sponsor this year, said Stensland. The philanthropist reportedly suffered a great loss on Wall Street last year, leading to his inability to once again back the train. Dunkin' Donuts contributed $20,000 to keep the Toys for Tots train on track, with the money used to directly purchase approximately 30,000 gifts for this year's collection and support the train's run across 12 communities from Binghamton to Plattsburgh.
"When Dunkin' Donuts received word that this year's collection drive was in jeopardy, we knew we could not allow a 10-year tradition to fall off the tracks," Stensland stated in a press release. "We are honored to keep the Toys for Tots train running on Dunkin' Donuts this holiday season. Our local store owners and I are indebted to the work of these incredibly dedicated Marines, staff and volunteers who bring so much joy to so many children each year and we are truly thrilled to be part of their extraordinary efforts."
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Albert Roman, who organizes the toy drive locally, said the foundation was thankful for Dunkin' Donuts stepping up in their time of need.
"We are grateful beyond words for the support that Dunkin' Donuts and their franchisees have provided us to keep our holiday train on track this season," stated Roman. "The thought of not being able to make the train's run this year was devastating, especially after such a tough year for so many families. Dunkin' Donuts literally came to the rescue to ensure that the Toys for Tots Holiday Train remained on track for the season. Their generous support shows the true nature of the holiday spirit."