MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The holiday season can add financial and emotional stress to families already struggling with money. To help these families make the season special for their children, national and local charities collect toys. Whether you’re looking to help families in need or your family needs a helping hand this holiday season, these organizations can help.
Magical Christmas Toy Drive:
The Salvation Army operates toy drives across the country. Locally, every year the Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama and the Pensacola Salvation Army team up with WKRG News 5 for the Magical Christmas Toy Drive. With wish lists to help donors find the right gift and dozens of drop-off locations, the Magical Christmas Toy Drive is a great way to help families in our community. It’s a popular program, and the Salvation Army is no longer accepting sign ups from families in need. But other programs are.
The Salvation Army Angel Tree program provides new clothing and toys to millions of children and families in need every year. The program is run out of local branches. You can apply online or in person. Children must be ages 12 and under. To contribute, you can register here.
USPS Operation Santa:
The United States Postal Service has delivered toys to children in need for more than a century with Operation Santa. Children and parents can write a letter to Santa — addressed to 123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888 — requesting clothes, books, toys and games. Local Post Office employees open the letters. They remove all personal information before posting the letters online for adopters to claims. People across the country can adopt letters and send gifts to the Post Office.
Toys for Tots
Since its founding in 1947 by Marine reservist Major Bill Hendricks, Toys for Tots has distributed 604 million toys to 272 million children. Toys for Tots offers many ways to contribute online, in addition to local efforts. In Mobile, Toys for Tots hosts dozens of events to help raise money and collect toys; you can find the calendar here. In Mobile, registration for toys opened Oct. 1 and closed Nov. 15. But according to the website, the Pensacola branch was still accepting applications as of Nov. 24.