Toys For Tots Charity Drive Has Been Hit Hard By Toys R Us Closures

Rick DiamondGetty Images for Toys R Us

The closure of Toys R Us stores across the country is having a big impact on one of the nation’s biggest charity toy drives.

As the Associated Press reported, the Toys for Tots toy drive allows shoppers to drop off new toys that are given to underprivileged children. The charity drive normally receives 250,000 toys and $5 million from Toys R Us each year, both through donations directly from the store and others made by shoppers, but with the retail chain filing for bankruptcy, the drive has been forced to shuffle donations around while struggling to meet demand.

The organization responded to the closure of Toys R Us by creating new relationships with toy stores, many of which popped up in the wake of the retail chain’s closure. It has also sought out more donations.

But many experts say the drop in shoppers going to brick-and-mortar stores for their holiday shopping is having an effect across the landscape, both for retailers and for charities. This year, as the Inquisitr reported, donations to the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle drive have also seen a sharp drop, as more shoppers tend to make their purchases online and avoid the bell ringers stationed outside malls and retail stores.

The drop has left many regions well short of goals, and forced them to seek other means to make up for the lost cash donations.

The difficulties for the holiday-time charities are reflective of a larger trend toward online shopping. As Fortune reported, the in-store traffic on Black Friday saw a sharp decline this year, which corresponded with a rise in the popularity of online shopping and emergence of online giants like Amazon.

“According to a poll commissioned by the National Retail Federation to look at American consumers’ behavior over the biggest shopping weekend of the year, some 165 million people made purchases either online or in stores over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend that ended on Cyber Monday (Nov. 26). That’s down from the 174 million who did so on the corresponding weekend last year.”

Charities like the Salvation Army have followed suit, offering more opportunities to make donations online. The Toys for Tots program also has an online hub, where donors can give through a series of different ways, including starting their own crowd funding campaigns to raise money or even donating their old cars to the program. Campaign officials have not given a direct update on the goal, which will not be known until after it comes to a conclusion.