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'Desperate' for donations: two groups need toys

Posted at 6:17 PM, Dec 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-15 20:17:08-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Two groups that help families put toys under the Christmas tree are in desperate need of donations with only days left before the events. 

The Salvation Army expects 1,500 families to come to its warehouse and pick out toys for Christmas this weekend, but they only have about half the toys they need right now. 
 
The organization usually aims to give every child registered for the toy shop at least three presents, but with donations at a record low, that may not happen this year. 
 
"I have been here four years and this is the lowest I've seen it," said Shawna Kroh, the public relations director for The Salvation Army. She says they still need about 8,000 toys to make sure every parent gets to take a bundle home for each child. 
 
"The parents come in and they actually get to pick from the age range tables for their children," she said. "They're escorted by a volunteer they pick those gifts out and then they're able to take them home and wrap them."
 
The toy shop starts on Thursday and runs through December 22. Kroh says they do not have room for any additional families. Donations will be accepted through the last day at the Angel Tree locations inside the Tucson, Park Place and Foothills malls and at The Salvation Army's main shelter located at 1002 N. Main Avenue. 
 
Kroh says they are in need of toys for both genders and all age groups. 
 
Organizers for the 45th annual Miracle on 31st event are in even worse shape. Ramon Gonzales says he only has 400 toys, but he needs 10,000. 
    
"They have always come through with the toys and God willing, they'll come through once again," said Gonzales. 
 
The first Miracle on 31st Street took place 45 years ago with about 15 children. 
 
"Before I knew it, I had about 200, 300 I thought that was something very, very big but I never thought I would have 10,000 kids," said Gonzales.
 
That's what he's expecting this year. 
 
"So I'm only shy about 9,500, somewhere in there," he said. 
 
He faced the same problem last year but ended up giving out 10,000 toys at Ava Amphitheater thanks to multiple last minute donations. 
 
"At this moment, anything and everything will do," he said. "I need toys for toddlers, teenage, infants whatever the community will bring, I appreciate it."
 
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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: 
 
The Salvation Army: 
  • Toy shop runs December 17- December 22
  • Asking for new, unwrapped toys for all ages 
  • Drop off donations at Tucson, Park Place or Foothills mall (Angel Tree)
  • Donations also accepted at 1002 N. Main Ave. 

Miracle on 31st Street

  • Happening Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ava Amphitheater
  • Need new, unwrapped toys for all ages 
  • Drop off donations at Famous Sam's (2320 N. Silverbell Rd) Old Pueblo Healthcare (5981 E. Grant Rd) or at 2019 W. Ajo Way.
  • You can also bring donations on Sunday to Ava