Christmas charities calling out for help

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Charity organizations around the state are sending out a Christmas 911: They don't have enough gifts for children to go around.

The economy is to blame for the situation. With the drop there's been more demand, but things are much tighter for families and companies who usually supply many of the gifts and donations.

Senior Airman Victoria Schulz spent Friday evening volunteering. She was helping parents pick out gifts at Sub for Santa at the Family Connection Center.

"It's really nice being able to see their face when they're like, ‘Oh, my daughter will love this!'" Schultz said.

She got that reaction with Monica Garner, who picked up the "Twilight" book series for her 14-year-old daughter.

"That is something I would not ever have been able to get her, and that is going to be something else for her. She's going to be very excited," Garner said.

The temporary store provides every child with a blanket, a board game, books, toys and clothes -- at least they'd like to. Organizers said they're almost out of gifts, and they're expecting 130 families Saturday.

"We were able to give each child a teddy bear; we have, like, five or six bears left," said Robin Addison, with the Family Connection Center. "We were giving families a blanket for each child; we have two or three left."

On Friday night, Toys for Tots area coordinator Ben Setter was on duty picking up donations. Although many people are giving, his organization is coming up short too.

"We usually try to give each child three presents. This year, we've cut it back to two, and we're not sure we'll have enough," Setter said.

He said he knows the economy is rough and understands that people need to be careful with money this year, but he hopes there's still enough left to give to a child in need.

"If you're really feeling bad about yourself, help someone else and you'll notice you'll feel much better," Setter said.

Both organizations are still collecting donations and would love help from the public.

The Family Connection Center is located in Layton. It will be open Saturday starting at 6 a.m., and they're in need of everything: toys, blankets, board games and clothing. [CLICK HERE for more information]

Toys for Tots has drop boxes located all over; they're especially in need of items for teens. [CLICK HERE for a list of donation locations]

You can also donate to Toys for Tots online by clicking HERE.


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Sarah Dallof


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