BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Non-profits and charities are already busy gearing up for the holidays, but thanks to lingering effects from the pandemic and inflation, this year some needs are more pressing than others,

Donations for this year’s Magic City Toy Drive for kids and teens in need are in full swing, and just one toy can make a difference.

“Educational toys and supplies, things that give [kids] letters, numbers, sounds and brightens their day. We also have a need for balls and toys and board games,” said Galvin Billups, the director of Birmingham’s Department of Youth Services.

They’re also looking for bikes, art supplies and makeup and hair care for young girls.

Billups said each year their need has increased but so has the community’s generosity.

“Because of COVID, which has had a tremendous impact on our community, we see families that have a tremendous need. For many deserving young people around the community, this will be the only toy that they have,” Billups said.

December 4 is the deadline to donate toys to the Magic City Toy Drive. You can drop them off unwrapped at Birmingham City Hall, the Department of Youth Services building, the Birmingham police station, any Birmingham Fire and Rescue station or any Amfirst location. To learn more or to register your family, head to the department’s website.

This year has also posed a challenge for the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama. Right now, volunteers are preparing 25,000 holiday boxes to make sure people in the area get a holiday meal.

“We are seeing a dip in donations this year, both from individuals and corporations, and so it does make it a little bit harder for us. Also, food inflation is making food a lot more expensive,” said Nicole Williams, CEO of the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama.

The food bank needs canned vegetables and fruit, peanut butter, rice and stuffing mix. No matter what you can give, Williams said these donations are critical for the families they serve.

“Maybe they’re making impossible choices in terms of medical bills or a maybe a new tire for one of their cars. All donations help,” Williams said.

To learn more about volunteering at the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama or to sign up for their services, click here.