Volunteers with the Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots campaign in Pearl River County said Friday that donations are far behind previous years, leaving them wondering how they will make Christmas wishes come true.
Delores Wood with WRJW Radio said despite a special on-air promotion Friday, people are just not responding to the call to give this year. She can only point to the economy and families facing layoffs in the area as the reason the number in need is growing.
"Last year, we had had 1,200 to 1,300 children. This year they say there's about 200 more," Wood said
Collection boxes have been out in Pearl River County for about a month, but most are bare. The annual toy drive collects new, unwrapped toys for boys and girls ages 12 and under. Cash donations are also welcome. Organizers use that money to purchase toys to fulfill the children's holiday wishes.
WRJW's annual Radio-thon usually brings in a large number of donations.
"In years past, the Marines have brought a trailer to the radio-thon to hold all the toys. This year, they barely filled a trunk," Wood said.
Wood said there are some 60 collection sites at businesses in Picayune, Poplarville, and Pearl River County. In addition, people can make a donation by calling WRJW at (601) 798-4835.