‘Santa is worried’: Toys for Tots low on donations for children’s holiday gifts this year

Local news

Amid supply chain bottlenecks and increased demand from families in need, Toys for Tots put out an urgent call for donations on Thursday.

“The Toys for Tots program is very low on toy donations and with only two weeks left until Christmas, Santa is worried he won’t be able to help all of the children who have been good this year,” the alert read.

The program, which is organized by the U.S. Marines and The Salvation Army, has been seeing more people in need, with requests from nonprofits going up this year.

The increased demand from Americans, who are still dealing with the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic and now, inflation, could be one reason why the program has been flooded with more requests.

Gunnery Sgt. Jesse Tatum, the Toys for Tots coordinator for the Terminal Island campaign, told KTLA his location received about 233 toy requests from nonprofits this year. But the program is on track to fill only about 60 to 90 of the requests.

The number of requests to the program is also more than double what it was last year, when Toys for Tots received about 92 toy requests from nonprofits and was able to fill 64 of them, according to Tatum.

And supply chain issues are also contributing to the program being low on donations, he added.

Now the program is working to find more donations.

“Our goal is to make sure that everybody wakes up on Christmas morning with something to open,” Tatum said.

It’s not just Toys for Tots struggling to secure holiday gifts this year as the supply bottlenecks create shortages on many items.

California-based nonprofit Family Giving Tree said it’s been difficult to find doll styling heads, racially diverse Barbies and Disney princess dolls this year, the Associated Press reported.

Others charities told the outlet they’re facing challenges finding gaming consoles and laptops amid the global chip shortage.

Tatum, of Toys for Tots, asked community members to donate toys, or money to buy the toys.

Those interested can go to toysfortots.org to find a nearby toy drop-off location, or give virtually at the Marine Toys for Tots Virtual Toybox.

For more information about Tatum’s Toys for Tots program in Bell, visit their website.

Toys for Tots can arrange to pick up any large donations.

People can also volunteer to work in the warehouses, or reach out to Tatum at 719-317-8143 to donate gas cards to help keep the delivery vans and trucks running.

“Bringing joy to to a kid, especially after the last couple years we’ve had, that makes a difference in a lot of people’s lives,” Tatum said.

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