AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The number of people in need in the CSRA is growing. That means there are more homeless and low income families hoping for some toys this Christmas.
The need is greater. In fact, a large stack of applications sit in a desk at the Toys for Tots warehouse on 15th Street from people who walked in for help. That’s not including children in school in need. So, the organization is making an appeal to the public that when you go shopping for toys this year, you do not forget children in need.
“My numbers will increase from 41,107 to about an approximate number of about 19,000 more children,” said Anne Woods, Toys for Tots of Augusta Coordinator.
That equals to more than 60,000 people in need, which means a call to action for more toys under Christmas trees. Woods said the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation does a survey every year to make sure all children have a smile on their face on December 25.
“The mission is no child left behind at Christmas time,” she said.
Toys for Tots covers 18 counties, including Richmond, Columbia, Burke, and McDuffie in Georgia and Edgefield, Barnwell and McCormick Counties in South Carolina. She attributes the greater need to the CSRA’s population increase due to cyber and those new people still establishing themselves.
Woods added, “Most people think that because people have a job or because they work that they’re ok, but that’s not always the case. Some people are living paycheck to paycheck.”
NewsChannel 6 learned that based on the Point in Time count in January, there are 384 people experiencing homelessness on a single night in Augusta – Richmond County. That number was 445 in 2017, 366 in 2015 and 449 in 2013. People with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Augusta Continuum of Care for the Homeless track the numbers each year, but those numbers change due to the transient life of the homeless.
Woods said nearly 400 boxes are out at local businesses. Several organizations are pitching in too. As of now, Woods is in the process of getting a better count from schools.
“The principal of the school knows his or her family. They also know who is homeless or not homeless or who needs help. We’ve gone to schools in the winter and kids have on flip flops.”
There is also a greater need within the donation community. Woods said when you are shopping for toys to donate to Toys for Tots, it might be easier to pick up toys for younger kids, such as Barbie. However, the greatest need is for children who are 8 and older and they like high tech items most.
To learn more about the local Toys for Tots or get involved, click here.
Photojournalist: Gary Hipps