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Toys for Tots says holiday donations are falling short

Posted at 5:05 PM, Dec 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-14 19:42:20-05

STUART, Fla. — Toys for Tots has been helping make the holidays brighter for children in need.

Tens of thousands of toys are collected all across the country, but this year donations are falling short.

For more than a decade, Toys 'R Us provided millions of dollars in donations. But that was wiped away when the store filed for bankruptcy in September.

Now, Toys for Tots is having to find other ways to fill that void.

Inside the Martin County Fairgrounds Friday, it looked more like Santa’s workshop.

"We’re extremely busy, it has been a crazy couple of weeks," said Carol Hodnett, Vice President of United Way Martin County.

Volunteers have been sorting and counting dozens of toys donated at nearly 130 collection sites in the county to help parents and grandparents like Linda Crosby Carter.

"A year without Christmas, especially for a kid, it would break my heart," said Crosby Carter, who is born and raised in Martin County.

Crosby Carter is helping raise her three-year-old and one-year-old grandsons, but right now there are no presents under the tree.

"It’s hard, especially when you’re on a budget and with bills rolling in, it’s hard," Carter said.

For the second year, she’s receiving help from Toys for Tots.

The charity helps needy families, but this year donations in Martin County are down about 20 to 25 percent.

"We used to receive a monetary donation each year from Toys 'R Us that required us to shop there and not being able to do that has certainly impacted all of us," Hodnett said.

Without its largest corporate partner, Toys for Tots is now relying more on individual donors, and Crosby Carter is relying more on your generosity to provide her grandkids a Christmas.

"Going there and being able to pick a toy for your kid or grandkids or whoever, it’s a blessing," she said.

There’s still time to donate. You can drop toys off at the fire houses over the weekend before the toy distribution happens next week.