'We've never seen need like this:' Long Island charity makes urgent call for toy donations

toy donations
A Long Island charity says toy donations are way down this year due to the pandemic Photo credit Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (WCBS 880) - There is a big need for toy donations this holiday season on Long Island.

WCBS 880's Sophia Hall visited the American Giving Project and Toys of Hope in Huntington where one volunteer showed her a toy bin that in the past he would need to empty four or five times per day.

This year, donations are way down because of the pandemic and founder Melissa Blomberg Doktofsky said so many more families are in need this year compared to last year.

"We've never seen need like this in the 26 years of doing this," she said. "I see at least 1,000 more calls a day, we get probably about 10,000 more emails a day."

Doktofsky shared a heartbreaking story about one of the calls the organization recently received from a mother of two who lost her husband this year to the coronavirus.

"I was on the phone with a mom and the dad had died from COVID, and she has two kids, and the younger girl said in the background, 'Please give my mom a heavy blanket and a warm winter jacket for my baby brother,'" Doktofsky said.

She told the family the organization will help in any way they can.

The organization not only delivers toys to those in need around the holidays, but year-round they help families with food, clothing and pet supplies.

"Our motto is you can't help a child unless you help the whole family, so we help grandma, grandpa, mom and dad, the kids, we even make sure that the pets have pet food so that everyone has something, so no one goes without," Doktofsky said.

The volunteer Hall spoke to said this year they need footballs, basketballs, baseballs and board games.

Those interested in donating should visit toysofhope.org.