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Tough year for toy donations in Yuba-Sutter
Marysville residents Carolyn Cozine and her brother, James Cameron, are doing everything in their power to make sure kids in need have a Christmas this year.
The siblings lugged five bags full of toys into the California Highway Patrol station in similar Santa Claus form on Thursday. It was the second load of donations they made to the CHiPs for Kids program this year — the third overall, if counting a trip to The Yuba-Sutter Salvation Army.
"If you don't have a family, it's the best way to celebrate Christmas," she said.
The Salvation Army, Toys for Tots and CHiPs for Kids program worked together this year to provide less fortunate families with gifts during the holiday. This year, however, all three charities said they have received significantly fewer donations compared to last year.
Toys for Tots has 60 percent of the donations they did at this time last year, coordinator Bob Harlan said. The charity's goal is to receive 3,000 toys by Thursday. But so far, it only has 1800.
"This year has been really tough," he said.
For reasons as to why donations are so low, Harlan said a number of factors are to blame. The main reason, is the stagnant economy, he said.
For a boost, the Yuba-Sutter chapter of Toys for Tots recently received 577 gifts — worth about $6,000 — from a branch in Cincinnati to help supply the demand, Harlan said.
"We're all trying to scramble to fill all the needs out there," he said, "and of course right now, the need is greater than the donations."
Jodie Beck, CHP's public information officer, said the CHiPs for Kids program is doing everything it can to give gifts to every family that signed up, but they still have a lot of work to do before the donations are distributed next Friday.
Beck said the donations to the CHiPs for Kids program are at a quarter or third of what they were last year.
"The kids that want them haven't dropped," she said, "just the donations have."
Jennifer Clark, of Marysville, is one of the mothers on The Salvation Army's list to receive donations before Christmas. She signed up after her husband, Chris, was laid off in September.
"It's been really hard," Clark said. "We've been going through temp agencies, but its hard to find work in the wintertime."
Clark has four kids between the ages of 4 and 10. Her youngest son, Alex, said he hopes he gets a Playstation 3 for Christmas.
Harlan said anyone looking to make a donation can drop it off in any of the 50 Toys for Tots boxes around Yuba-Sutter, and that 100 percent of donations stay in the community.