Salvation Army: COVID-19 to blame for lack of toy donations this holiday season

Donations of toys and gifts at the Salvation Army are down this holiday season. Many nonprofits say they are experiencing similar situations – and it is believed that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing donations to be down.
Many families in New Jersey are still dealing with unemployment related to the pandemic. Those who are still in recovery mode and use the Salvation Army are finding it difficult to put food on the table. So when it comes to Christmas gifts, it gets even harder to pull off.
This is where the public can help - Angel Trees are an easy way to help a child. They can be found inside a Salvation Army in Walmart of Sam’s Club. Donors can grab a tag for a specific child and return with the gift they are asking for.
“We are expected to collect over 100,000 toys across the state of New Jersey,” says Major Josh Lyle.
Lyle says some of those toys will come to the site located on Asbury Avenue in Asbury Park, where they will be boxed. Work is already starting because the gifts will be distributed to the families on Dec. 21.
“You’ll see in our gym we have all of the boxes ready to college the Angel Tree tags and then putting them in the boxes for our distribution,” says Lyle.
But donations are down about 30% statewide. One of the reasons may be that many are still lacking jobs. The Salvation Army says that 7.1 million Americans across the country are behind on rent.
Lyle says that toys are great, but he says that the Salvation Army also has another need for school-aged children – clothing.
“Brand new clothing, pajamas and coats,” Lyle says. “We want to make sure every kid gets that extra special gift from us.”
The theme this season for the Salvation Army is “Hope Marches On.” Hope is what the organization is trying to provide for families and those who may be living on the margins.