Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs is a real-life Santa.
Rizzs teamed up with former outfielder Dave Henderson to start a non-profit organization more than 20 years ago called Toys For Kids. The idea was to give Christmas gifts to kids who might not receive any. Since it started, it's grown into a major event with several community partners, Mariners players, and several thousand kids receiving a little extra love during the holidays.
This year the group raised more than $405,000. That will help buy gifts for at least 8,000 kids who receive services from 27 homeless agencies in and around King County.
"We're still going to keep going as long as there's a need in this community," said Rizzs. "We're going to be there for these kids. Kids are going to have a chance to have a Christmas on Christmas morning."
Once the money is raised, volunteers from partnering agencies pick a day to go shopping at Toys R Us in Bellevue a couple hours before the doors open to the public. Many find themselves shopping for items on kids' wish lists.
The program also gave away two $5,000 scholarships and provided hot lunches for hundreds of kids who receive free or reduced lunch at school.
People who still want to donate to the organization can at rickstoysforkids.org.