PHOENIX - The Salvation Army's Christmas program is one of, if not the biggest, toy drives in the country. Organizers hope to serve 48,000 children in the Phoenix metro area this season, but say they're struggling.
"The bins here at the toy distribution center are usually overflowing," said the Salvation Army's Mark Sorenson, "But right now, some are running on empty.
Organizers say the number of needy children continues to rise far faster than the number of donations, and in at least 250 cases, shoppers picked up tags but never returned them with gifts. In these cases, the Salvation Army has to dip into its reserves to buy presents.
"We're short on toys. Our stockpiles which we spend all year building are low, and we'll need many more toys to make this season work," Sorenson said.
Thousands of tags remain on trees, each with a child's name, age, and Christmas wishes.
Toys will be distributed through December 23rd, so generous shoppers have more than a week to head to a mall, grab a tag, and help out.