OGDEN -- There were collectors, sorters, baggers and loaders. There were dinosaurs, dolls, dump trucks and dart boards.
There were even two elf-like foremen, who with the nod of their head were able, as donations allowed, to grant a child's special Christmas wish of a bicycle or electric train.
"It feels like Santa's workshop," said Ralph Young, Toys for Tots assistant area coordinator, looking across a warehouse at Business Depot Ogden, where 25 volunteers moved in synchronized fashion, filling the Christmas requests of 600 to 700 families living in Weber, Davis, Morgan and Box Elder counties.
This year's request includes about 200 more families than the program served last year in the four-county area.
"The payoff is seeing these bags ready to go out, and I see every one of my orders has been filled," Toys for Tots Area Coordinator Ben Setter said of the 3,500 area children from newborn to 17 years old who will receive two to three gifts for Christmas as a result of the donations made to Toys for Tots.
On Saturday, orders for 58 families were to be filled out of the BDO warehouse where the Toys for Tots assembly line is filling the space normally occupied by Christmas Village decorations.
A number of church groups visited the warehouse Friday to pick up their request, which are all neatly bagged, numbered and lined in a row for the recipient, said Setter, a U.S. Marine veteran.
Toys for Tots will continue to fill requests for families through Wednesday as donations continue to be collected from the hundreds of drop-off boxes the organization has throughout the community, Setter said.
Toys for Tots, a national program that serves millions, was established in 1947 when a group of U.S. Marine reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children.
The pilot project was so successful the Marine Corps adopted the program in 1948.
But the program this year is falling short locally in receiving sporting equipment and gifts for boys and girls 10 and older, Young said.
Young pointed out on Saturday those sorting boxes were sitting all but empty.
However, families arriving Saturday to pickup their order appeared to be grateful for whatever was in the bag.
"It means our kids have Christmas," said Michelle, of Layton, who has a boy and two girls.
"If not for (Toys for Tots), our kids would not have anything," said Nikkol, of Clearfield, mother of four daughters.
But there was also one Toys for Tots recipients at the warehouse who was a giver as well as a recipient.
Jeff, of Clearfield, said days ago he approached a Toys for Tots collection box driver asking how his family could receive help from the program. Told the program was looking for volunteers, Jeff volunteered to work at the warehouse over the five-day period in which they filled requests in exchange for his six children being provided a Christmas.
Jeff, who has been without work for four months, said should he find a job, he will continue to volunteer for Toys for Tots based on the feelings it has created for him."I'm a lifer now. I'm hooked," he said of the joy of helping others.