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With need for toy donations up, donations are down

60% more families are asking the Salvation Army for toys this year than previous years because of the coronavirus pandemic.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The coronavirus pandemic has made it hard enough for some families to provide basic necessities, and they're being forced to eliminate Christmas because of finances.

Organizations such as the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots typically help fill the void for families in need. This year, the organizations said people who typically donate may need donations themselves. Donations are at an all-time low.

“This year it's been, it's been difficult," said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Toys for Tots coordinator Francis Frazier. “We’re at an all time low.”

Frazier says by this time last year they had 100,000 toys collected. As of November 20th, they have just over 4,000.

"This is a clear sign, with Christmas not too far away," Frazier said. "It hurts. You’re thinking about the requests that have come in that we may not be able to fulfill.”

Toys for Tots is not alone. The Salvation Army told WCNC Charlotte they have seen about 60% more requests for Christmas toys this year than in previous years.

The WCNC Charlotte Magical Toy Drive

WCNC Charlotte is sponsoring the Salvation Army's Magical Toy Drive drive-thru event.

Here are 3 ways to give:

  1. Donate a new unwrapped toy in person at any Charlotte area Belk (store locations)
  2. Shop online to ship toys directly to the Salvation Army
  3. Donate money online

You can also donate on Saturday, Nov. 28th at the Belk store at Carolina Place mall in Pineville.

Frazier says the people who typically give toys now need to receive them, and hopes the community will come through.

"Think about the children as if they were your children," Frazier said. "We don’t want to turn anyone away.”

Last year, Frazier said they were able to give toys to 88,000 families. He says that will only be possible this year if they receive a drastic amount of help between now and Christmas.

Brenda Stevenson, the Senior outreach pastor at New Outreach Christian Center, said she's even prayed about it.

"Lord please, work a miracle," Stevenson said. "The donations are down, bring them up.”

Stevenson said she’s personally received 166 applications from parents needing toys for their kids.

"Some of them cry, don’t know what to do,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson says the pandemic has cost many of the parents their jobs; making it hard enough giving their kids necessities.

"Food on the table, some of them have outgrown clothes, shoes," Stevenson explained, "but still you know, Christmas! In the eyes the of a child, they’re looking for a gift. So through all of that they're worried about, will there be a gift to open?”

How you can help

Volunteer, donate, and gift give

Frazier says for those who can't give, they will need volunteers to help when toys start coming in. For more information on donating or volunteering with Toys for Tots, click here.

For more information on donating to the Salvation Army's Magical Toy Drive drive-thru event Saturday the 28th at Belk Carolina Place click here.

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