Across the country, charities that dole out gifts to underprivileged kids have seen donations fall off steeply compared to last holiday season, USA Today reports. Some are reporting as much as a 30% decline in giving as the economy flags. “Families that would normally have been helping us by donating are now turning to us for help,” a spokeswoman for one charity said.
“If we don’t get those toys donated, there will be children that will have minimal or nothing under the Christmas tree,” said a spokesman for the Salvation Army, whose program has seen requests double in some areas. Charities say the dropoff in giving is the steepest they can remember, and the increase in the needy, though expected, is surprisingly large.