Chicago Coronavirus

Church Pleads For Toy Donations as Demand Surges Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

As the need grows for holiday gifts amid the coronavirus pandemic, a toy drive in Chicago's West Pullman neighborhood is asking for more donations to meet the increased demand this year.

Rev. William Melvin Jones, pastor at Sanctuary Church in Chicago, said volunteers have been working around the clock to bring Christmas to children across the city.

"We are going to be here all night long," Jones said.

For more than 24 years, the Chicago Toy Depository at Sanctuary Church has been answering Christmas letters from children, preparing toys and filling stockings for typical several hundred families.

This year, however, the church received more than 1,000 requests for toys and food in light of the financial struggles people are facing during the coronavirus pandemic. In a message Wednesday, the Chicago Toy Depository said they are still in "desperate" need of 800 toys.

"Let the Lord touch their hearts where they would come out and help us," Jones said.

The pastor said the church is sending an urgent message asking for toy donations, as well as monetary gifts, to help the volunteers meet the heightened need from struggling families.

Toys for Tots is facing a similar problem, the company said, as their typical event that bring in the most donations couldn't take place this year due to the coronavirus.

"Since we couldn't have our parade this year, that cut us down tremendously in toys," said Sharon Choate of Toys for Tots.

As of this week, Toys for Tots have helped over 900 families, but they still have not met this year's need for toy donations.

"It's been difficult this year because of the shortage of toys and the upswing of the family needs, so we're out there trying," said Tom Dertz of Toys for Tots.

Toy donations can be dropped off at the Toys for Tots Bridgeview warehouse or ordered from Amazon.

For anyone with donations to the Chicago Toy Dipository in Sanctuary Church, call Pastor Jones at (773) 301-3053 or the church at (773) 660-1400.

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