ROCK ISLAND, Illinois - The Toys for Tots drive definitely puts smiles on a lot of faces each year, but those smiles don't happen without getting registered ahead of time.
The hard work starts now for SSgt. Alice Ramos and the Toys for Tots volunteers.
"It's pretty amazing. It's one of the busiest times of the year for us, but it's also very exciting," SSgt. Ramos said.
They're already getting toy deliveries into their new Rock Island warehouse, and in just over a month, hundreds of kids across the Quad Cities will have a new toy for Christmas.
"It's awesome to see the generosity of the community, and the impact that local families make on these local kids," SSgt. Ramos said.
Families have to register each year to be considered for a donation, and it can be a quick process, as long as you have the right documents- a government-issued ID, a paper with your address, and maybe most important of all, a birth certificate for your kids.
It may seem like a drastic step for such a positive program, but with all the good, there is a small chance for the bad as people may look to take advantage of the system and try to get more than they need.
"It helps keep the program honest. The families that contribute, the people and the community that contributes, they want to know that it went to a good cause and that we're trying to keep the program as honest as possible," SSgt. Ramos said.
SSgt. Ramos says there isn't any evidence of fraud in the Toys for Tots program, and with the birth certificate option, it's a line of defense for them to keep that from ever happening.
A line that can help keep everyone happy this holiday season.
"Distribution day, it's just awesome to see the smiles on the children, if the parents bring the children, and the gratitude from the parents. That's just an overwhelming feeling," SSgt. Ramos said.
Registration runs until December 3rd.
You can donate new and unwrapped toys at a number of different locations in the Quad Cities, including the WQAD News 8 studio. The station will also be having a full day dedicated to Toys for Tots donations, and that is happening on November 29th, 2016 from 5:00 a.m until 7:00 p.m.