Holiday donations down for several Bay area charities - FOX 13 News

Holiday donations down for several Bay area charities

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Officials with the local Toys for Tots chapter is hoping to see a spike in donations this week. Officials with the local Toys for Tots chapter is hoping to see a spike in donations this week.
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Asking for help isn't something Michelle Lang is comfortable doing.

But with the recent death of her husband and a tough economic situation the Bay area woman wants to make sure he kids have a happy holiday.

"I have to budget my money very well and I'm always running a little short," Lang explained. "Every so often the question is what bill doesn't get paid this month?"

On Sunday the family came to the Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent to pick up some food and toys for Christmas. It's the Lang's first trip to the charity organization.

"It would be very tough, it would be a hard Christmas for me," Lang added. "I lost my job a few months ago it has not been easy with two kids. At least I know for Christmas I'll be OK."

Lifting her family's spirits - thanks to the hard working volunteers and generous donations – brought a smile to Michelle's face, but they're still countless others Metro Ministries is struggling to help.

"We're going to be facing about a thousand families every day until Christmas Eve," said Metropolitan Ministries President Tim Marks. "We're concerned about the shortage we're seeing in the donation lane."

At the end of November the organization's donation tallies were low - approximately 100,000 pounds on food and nearly $150,000 on cash.

Charity officials say it's due to the soft economy.

Bay area Toys for Tots distribution sites are also feeling the pinch.

"Last year at this time we'd collected 200,000 toys," says Ed Zaleski, Assistant coordinator for the local Toys for Tots chapter. "Through the deficiencies we've had this year we're at around 60,000 [toys] so it's a huge decrease."

Sunday afternoon volunteers were busy sorting the donations they've received so far. Last year each child was allowed to select five toys; this year they may get less.

Zaleski hopes more donations are on the way.

"The more we get the more we give," he says.

Marks calls the late push for more toys to ensure Happy Holidays for all a community effort.

"Everyone could do their part, some can do a little, some can do a little more," he says. "Some can do a lot.  If we all work together we can get this need met."

It doesn't take that much to make a family's celebration a little more joyous.

Lang: "A little bit can help a lot believe me."

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