COVID-19 Forces Toy Drives To Go Virtual

In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, toy drives are asking for online donations instead of in-person presents.

COVID-19 Forces Toy Drives To Go Virtual

Be it a basketball, a teddy bear or some coloring books, donating to a holiday toy drive is going to look a bit different this year.

"How do we make this work? How do we still serve as many kids as we possibly can with the limitations that we have," Sarah Murphy, Director of Development for the Coalition for the Homeless said.

Faced with social distancing recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19, toy drives all across the U.S. have had to rework how they will receive donations.

"We have limited staff in the office, we couldn't have volunteers in the office," Murphy said.

Sarah Murphy is the Director of Development for the Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy and service organization working to end homelessness in New York City. Murphy says this year, toy donations will only be accepted virtually through her team's Amazon wish list.

"We're having to really push the list. Because we want to make sure that we can fulfill all these orders. We're working with approximately 50 shelters across the city, and, you know, have about 7,000 toy orders, and we have to fill them before the holidays," Murphy said.

Murphy's team isn't alone in asking donors to select a toy from a designated list and pay for it online rather than dropping it off in person. Hospitals around the country are doing the same, like the Anne and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

"When you see items on our wish list, those are truly the items that when we receive them, they're going to be put into use immediately," Kelly Wade, Donations Coordinator for the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago  said.

Organizers of these toy drives say donations are more important than ever.

"It's been a tragic year for everyone, especially kids. So, you know, this is just one small thing that people can do to really make an impact," Murphy said.

"Being able to provide these incredible donations to patients just really creates that normalcy that our families are looking for when they're here," Wade said.