TOWN OF BROOKHAVEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Salvation Army officials on Long Island say they have a shortage of donated toys this year.
They’re asking for help making Christmas wishes come true.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, donated toys are stuffed into a Salvation Army space in Suffolk County – each matched to a child with a Christmas wish. But hundreds more might go without this year, because the need is outpacing donations.
“We are just getting their information – the children’s name and age – and just put them on a standby list,” said Lt. Frenie Antoine.
The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, which has been around for decades, is struggling this year as families flood the Blue Point region with requests.
“I’ve never seen that much help needed, especially last minute like this,” Antoine said. “We have 20-30 calls a day from families, asking ‘I really need help.'”
Answering the urgent call, the New York State Land Title Association is hand-delivering car loads of toys.
“As soon as we heard about the shortage, we reached out to our members. And within days, they had gifts for about 100 children,” said Monica Malagon.
The toys, they say, are as much a gift to each of them.
“You realize how luck you are, and it’s just a feeling of if I can enjoy the holidays with my family, why shouldn’t these children be able to do so?” Cathy Roper said.
Also pitching in are municipal workers. The Town of Islip supervisor’s office is piled high with toys for its local branch.
“When you get a list for a 4-year-old and they say ‘pajamas, pants socks,’ you think, ‘Oh my gosh.’ You just take it for granted that everyone has what they need, and that certainly isn’t the case,” said Tow of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter.
But with time running out, the Blue Point Salvation Army says it’s still short and each day the wish list grows.
“You just don’t want to break their heart at all,” Antoine said.
To find out if there’s an urgent need in your community, call your local Salvation Army office so that no child is left on a waiting list Christmas morning.
Last year, the Salvation Army collected nearly 700,000 toys through its Angel Tree program.