BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Donations to charities are down this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and leaders at Greater Birmingham Ministries say it’s affecting their annual toy drive.
Tari Williams, the charity’s organizing director, said fewer people are donating toys this year, and that means the organization won’t be able to help as many children as it usually does.
“Our waiting list right now is so long, because we can’t help unless we get more donations of toys and gift cards,” she said.
Many people have donated gift cards instead of toys this year, and Williams said those have been helpful. Sometimes a family needs toys for a certain age group, and they’re not available. Gift cards work well for those families.
“We give out food and toys every year,” Williams said. “And in prior years, we have also received gift car donations. This year, it’s kind of inverted: we’re receiving more gift cards and less toys.”
The pandemic also has forced Greater Birmingham Ministries to change its distribution method. They’ve implemented a drive-up system for families picking up gifts. When they arrive, volunteers meet them at their cars and load toys into their trunks.
Distribution takes place at the charity’s office on 12th Avenue North every day from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday was scheduled to be the last day, but Williams said they’ll continue handing out toys as long as they have them.
“We will be accepting gift cards and toy donations up until the very last family comes through our door,” she said.
If you’re in need of gifts or want to make a donation, call 205-326-6821 for more information.