ORLANDO, Fla. — Supply chain issues are causing a massive toy shortage across the country.
The shortage is severely impacting the work done by Toys for Tots, one of the longest running toy distributions in the country.
Local toy drive organizers say they’ve only collected about half the number of toys that came in last year, which was itself the lowest ever due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The problems tend to disproportionately affect the donations for certain age groups compared to others.
For many age groups, like infants to toddlers and teenagers, turnout is slim.
“We need volunteers. We need donations. We need toys, and right now, we don’t have enough for the demand,” Toys for Tots Coordinator Staff Sgt. Ash Jacques said.
The Toys for Tots collection site in Lake Buena Vista alone is expecting to serve families in need from nine different counties, including Seminole and Osceola.
Jacques says he hasn’t seen collections so low in any of his 15 years as a Toys for Tots coordinator.
“If somebody could just provide one new unwrapped toy, it would help a lot of less fortunate children this Christmas,” Jacques said. “Right now, we just need people to know that we are severely under quantity with toys.”
Traditionally the goal of Toys for Tots is to provide five toys for every eligible child. During the pandemic, that number dropped to three.
With what’s come in so far this year, Jacques says it’s now less than two.
“We need as much support as possible.”
While each toy donation helps, organizers say cash donations are preferred because they can make a more immediate impact.
For more information on ways to contribute, including how to help volunteer, click here.
Cox Media Group