With only a few days left to collect toys in time for Christmas Day, the Greater Boston Toys for Tots group is struggling to meet this year’s high demand for donations.
Toys for Tots, which is run by the US Marine Corps, collects toys to provide gifts for the holiday seasons to needy children across the country. The organization sends the toys it collects to various organizations around the city — such as church groups, Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Boston Housing Authority — which then distribute them to needy families.
Toys for Tots received requests from 358 Boston-area organizations this year, compared with 322 organizations last year, said Vin Dolan, a spokesman for the charity.
Dolan said the charity is overwhelmed by the demand this year, because not only are additional organizations requesting donations this year, but each organization is requesting a little bit more as well.
“Right now we only have a week or so, and it doesn’t look like we’re going to be able to meet the demands,” Dolan said.
A kickoff ceremony on Nov. 24 began the donation drive in the Greater Boston area with a donation from Mayor Martin J. Walsh.
Since then, each State Police barracks, as well as most fire stations, and participating Walgreens stores and Bertucci’s restaurants have been diligently collecting toys, which the nonprofit hopes to disperse to the needy children before Christmas Day, Dolan said.
The State Police held their fifth annual “Fill a Cruiser Day” on Saturday for the donation drive. After Saturday’s event, the State Police said they have collected a total of 6,871 toys across the state.
Still, that number is not enough, Dolan said.
Last year the organization met the demand for more than 162,000 toys — this year, Dolan said, the demand is “well over that figure.” The increase in demand and decrease in donations is likely a result of the slowing economy, he said.
Dolan said Mayor Walsh has been “very helpful” in garnering donations and promoting the program this year. In hopes of garnering more attention for the donation drive this year, Walsh added a Christmas tree in the third-floor lobby of City Hall.
At the kickoff ceremony two weeks ago, Walsh said City Hall is “committed to collecting more donations than before.”
During the 2011 donation cycle, the Globe reported that the organization was “overwhelmed” by the number of toys overflowing from dropoff locations across the city. Since then, however, Dolan said this “scramble” to fulfill the donation demand has occurred almost every year.
Even though the nonprofit is a couple thousand toys short, Dolan said he is hopeful the organization will meet the demand in time for the holidays.
“We’re going to do it, one way or another,” he said. “There are a lot of generous people out there. … we always come through.”Trisha Thadani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TrishaThadani.