A plea for help: Toys for Tots Burlington County in need of more toy donations this year
Toys for Tots in Burlington County is struggling to help thousands of families in need. The organization says that the COVID-19 pandemic on top of an unexpected loss has them worried as the Christmas season gets closer.
“This year is probably, out of the 19 years I’ve been doing it, the hardest I’ve ever seen,” says Toys for Tots Burlington County coordinator Gina Capate.
The Burlington County chapter provided toys for 20,000 children last year but fears that it will come up short this year.
“I would probably say I’m at 16,000 kids. I probably have enough to do maybe 10,000 and that’s pushing it, and that’s using every last game, every last Hot Wheels car that we have, that we normally consider our stocking stuffers,” Capate says.
The pandemic created an increased need within the community this year, according to Capate.
“I had started in April getting calls and emails from people,” she says.
There has also been a drop in toy donations and many businesses who host toy drives are working remotely. Organizers also say that they lost about $5,000-worth of toys that were sitting in storage because of damage caused by flooding.
“You can see on some of the boxes over there where the waters come up. All the black, this is all mold and they can’t be salvaged,” Capate says.
The organization has put out a call for emergency toys or donations as families sit on the waitlist. Capate says that she is hoping that the community can pull through so that no child will be left out.
I’m going to try and give everyone who applied something,” she says.
Toys for Tots says that they are in need mostly for toys for 0-2-year-olds and 9-12-year-olds. Information about how to donate can be found on the organization’s website.