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Horsham AGS supply technicians use military skillset to improve Toys for Tots stockpile

Members of the 111th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pennsylvania, stop to take a group photo before beginning work Dec. 22, 2015 at the Toys For Tots warehouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. The team helped overwhelmed volunteers sort, count and package more than 1,000 donated items.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

Members of the 111th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pennsylvania, stop to take a group photo before beginning work Dec. 22, 2015 at the Toys for Tots warehouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. The team helped overwhelmed volunteers sort, count and package more than 1,000 donated items.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

Airman 1st Class Igor Karlov (left) and Master Sgt. Joe Sommers, both from the 111th Logistics Readiness Squadron, work together to create boxes for sorting donated items at the Toys for Tots warehouse Dec. 22, 2015, in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Members of the 111th LRS volunteered to help the overwhelmed collection center, sorting more than 1,000 items in a few hours. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond/Released)

Airman 1st Class Igor Karlov (left) and Master Sgt. Joe Sommers, both from the 111th Logistics Readiness Squadron, work together to create boxes for sorting donated items at the Toys for Tots warehouse Dec. 22, 2015, in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Members of the 111th LRS volunteered to help the overwhelmed collection center, sorting more than 1,000 items in a few hours. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond/Released)

HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. -- Eight 111th Attack Wing members from the 111th Logistics Readiness Squadron here used brain and brawn to overhaul a congested Toys for Tots warehouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania, December 22.

Within a 2-hour timeframe, the LRS Guardsmen retrieved, sorted, packaged and hauled more than 1,000 donated items.

"[Toys for Tots volunteer John Soghomonian] said that they are about 25 percent over what they normally receive and are having a hard time keeping up,"  said Master Sgt. Joe Sommers, 111th LRS material management flight chief. "So, while it's good that they've had so many donations - being an organization that runs solely on volunteer support - they're overwhelmed with the sheer amount of donations here.

"That's why we decided to bring a group of our LRS members here and see what we could do to help out."

According to Sommers, the influx of donations normally runs in spurts of 10,000 to 20,000 items at a time. This year, the Marine Corps Reserve's not-for-profit organization saw toys coming in at a range of 13,000 to 25,000 at a time. This increase pushed the already-overextended volunteer team well past its current capability.

The decision to assist the Toys for Tots, Montgomery-South depository, this year was the brainchild of former Marine, turned Pa. Air National Guard captain, Capt. Dan Taylor, a logistics readiness officer with the 111th ATKW.

"We were making a drop off and noticed that they were inundated with donations," said Taylor. "After seeing the bottleneck, there was no way that we could leave them in that state.

"These are good people volunteering their time to a great cause. Helping them out wasn't even a question. This is was being a Guardsman is about - it's about being an upright steward to the community."

And that's what they did.

Taylor rallied the Wing's top logistics and supply technicians, and with leadership support, led the troop to the warehouse to apply their military skills for the noble program.  According to Soghomonian, the Guardsmen's few hours of labor accomplished the equivalent of days of work by overwhelmed volunteers.

Toys for Tots has a mission of collecting new, unwrapped toys from October through December, and distributing those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community. While the program has an objective of helping these children experience the joys of the holidays, volunteers are needed year round.

If you'd like donate or to volunteer at a local warehouse, go to http://www.toysfortots.org/donate/toys.aspx.