Hanukkah celebrations have begun and Christmas is less than three weeks away. As our Beth Croughan tells us, local efforts to help those in need this holiday season are in need themselves.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. --A train stuffed full of toys stops Sunday in Saratoga and Santa greeted the dozens of families and children waiting at the station.
"Well, you know, it's great having Toys for Tots finally come back out into the community," said NY National Guard Colonol Richard Goldenberg.
But when it comes to delivering toys this year, there's been some difficulties for the Albany-area chapter as demand is up and donations are down.
"I've already spent $70,000 on toys and I still don't have enough," said Bob Becker, the Toys for Tots Coordinator.
Pastor Willie Bacote of the Missing Link Zion Church forwarded YNN an email received Friday. Their Toys for Tots application was disapproved. The church was told the program was closed due to high demand. Bacote called the news heartbreaking but says they haven't given up hope on finding toys for about 900 kids in Troy in just two weeks time. The email said they could be contacted if there are extra toys left at the end of the program.
"We're working to give toys to every organization that's qualified to get the toys that we give," said Becker.
But toys aren't the only item in need this holiday season. Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said the County's Adopt-A-Family program is seeing more requests for necessities.
"They're asking for gift cards for Price Chopper, Hannaford or Shop-Rite," he said.
Ellen Roesch works as an attorney in the State Tax Department. She and her colleagues have collected about 60 items for a mother and her three children.
"We've always purchased several warm jackets, hats, mittens, boots," explained Roesch.
The County Executive asks for more donors like Roesch and her Office of Counsel coworkers. This year, more than 240 families will be helped through the program.
"We are doing a final pitch. It's not too late to donate. So please, by all means, like I said, there's eight or 10 families that we need to fulfill. But even at last minute, we always get requests every year," said McCoy.