The importance of Christmas toy donations during the COVID-19 pandemic

Marine+Toys-For-Tots+has+seen+an+increase+in+demand+of+donations+due+to+the+ongoing+COVID-19+pandemic.

Wikimedia Commons

Marine Toys-For-Tots has seen an increase in demand of donations due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Michael VanDerSchaaf, Sports Editor

With the COVID-19 pandemic putting many adults out of work, the need forChristmas toy donations has sky-rocketed. 

Christmas toy drives give many families that cannot afford gifts a chance at making their children happy. Programs like Operation Christmas Child and Toys-for-Tots have seen a large increase in demand for donated toys this year. Both programs have made adjustments to their processes during a normal year which have made for larger donations and safer exchanges.

The biggest way that these programs have increased donations is through broader donation windows. In the past, these programs have only accepted donations in the few months before Christmas. This year, they have changed this window to accept donations throughout the entire year.

This new system keeps donors safe during the ongoing pandemic. In a normal year, donation centers are flooded with donors during the weeks prior to Christmas. The broader window will help keep crowds down and maximize social distancing.

Emily Jepsen, Pleasant Valley’s service learning counselor, is a representative of Bettendorf’s local Toys-for-Tots organization, and stressed the importance of donations in a time like this. “During this COVID pandemic, the needs of the community have not been lessened, if anything they have been increased,” she said. “Toys-for-Tots is still in great need of donated items for families in need.

Jepsen also praised the work that Toys-for-Tots does for the local community. SHe believes that the work they are doing is especially necessary during a time like this. “Toys for Tots strives to provide a good holiday experience for the youth in the community that may otherwise go without gifts,” said Jepsen.

One of the biggest struggles that these programs have faced due to the pandemic is the significant reduction in the number of volunteers. Most years, the programs have a large number of volunteers that help receive donations, but due to the pandemic, these programs must keep staff small so they can abide by social distancing guidelines.

Pleasant Valley often does their part in helping the local Toys-for-Tots through volunteer work during the holidays. Unfortunately, this is not the case this year. “For the past eight years, I have taken a group of freshman and sophomores to volunteer at Toys-for-Tots,” stated Jepsen. “Unfortunately, we are not able to do that this year due to social distancing and pandemic concerns.

These christmas donations programs believe that their new adjustments will maximize donations and provide many less-fortunate families with a Merry Christmas.