Toy donation shortfall causes Salvation Army to close warehouse & cancel volunteer shifts
Officials with the Salvation Army say they have had to cancel volunteer shifts and close a warehouse because the agency’s Christmas donation program has not received enough toys for workers to sort.
The Salvation Army has 7000 kids, under the age of 14, registered for the toy program and officials say they are in desperate need of donations and toys.
“We’re about half way through and we’ve really hit a critical need of not having enough toys to continue packing the hampers,” said Karen Livick, Executive Director for The Salvation Army’s Community Services Calgary. “We get a lot of Calgarians who come out and give back by volunteering and it’s really hard when we can’t keep them busy this time of year.”
The Salvation Army says it has seen fewer donations in some age groups than in others over the years but, this year, very few donations are coming in.
Livick says the organization is aware that buying a toy may not be in everyone’s budget but they are also accepting monetary donations.
“I think it’s a direct result of the economic crisis that we’re seeing and feeling, starting to feel again in Calgary. I mean, we’ve started to feel it for a couple of years but this year, I think, people are a little unsure about their job situation and what’s going to happen in the New Year, so they’re just a little unsure, they’re finding themselves, it's a little harder themselves and not being able to buy that extra toy to donate,” said Livick.
Officials say just under 18,000 toys have been donated so far but that they need about 40,000 to keep up with demand.
“Unfortunately, last week, we had to shut down our volunteer hours for a couple days and actually ask people not to come for their shifts, which is really hard to do. We have groups, we have families who come together with their kids as a tradition, this is how they give back over Christmas, so it’s really tough when we have to tell them that they can’t come that day,” Livick said.
Toys for kids in the 9 – 14 age group are needed most and there are a few items that are at the top of the list including;
- Remote controlled vehicles
- Science experiment and craft kits
- Headphones and ear buds
- Alarm clocks and smaller electronics
“We believe that every child deserves to open a new toy on Christmas morning and feel that special joy,” said Livick. “No one wants to disappoint their child and they don’t understand the toughness that mom and dad might be going through.”
Calgarians can drop off new, unwrapped toys until December 15 at:
- Any CIR Realty offices
- Ricky’s All Day Grills
- Marlborough Mall
- Westbrook Mall
For more information on the program or to make a donation, click HERE.