As the Open Door Mission prepares for their annual toy drive, the mission is struggling to gather enough gifts for teenagers in need.
The mission's annual holiday toy drive, Project Santa, which provides gifts and toys for low-income families who need a little help during the holiday season, will serve nearly 6,000 children in need this year.
"If someone is going to go without this Christmas season, it's always going to be a teenager from a family in a home that's in need," says Candace Gregory, CEO at the Open Door Mission.
Gregory says the Open Door Mission is one of few local organizations that serves for teenagers. Their toy drive provides gifts for children ages 0 to 18.
"Teenagers are often overlooked because they often times have to assume adult responsibilities in low-income families," says Gregory. "They're actually the ones coming home and taking care of their siblings - getting meals ready, doing bath time, homework, etc. They sometimes can't do those extracurricular activities or get extra clothing so their younger siblings get more. So it's important they don't get overlooked during Christmas."
Gregory says struggling to get donated gifts for teenagers has become a trend the last three years. She says gifts for children ages 13-18 seem to be the hardest volume of items to acquire for the gift bags.
Amy Harvey, the Volunteer Director says filling the gift bags for teens can be a challenge due to lack of donations and the cost for gifts they may want or need.
"The things that they like are usually a little more costly than some of the other stuff. So we are in desperate need for things for teenagers. It's always the last group of bags that we're able to make because we're waiting for donations to come in," says Harvey.
Harvey adds that gifts for teen boys are even harder to collect.
Gregory says ideal gifts for the teens include, makeup kits, perfumes or body sprays, socks, curling irons, tennis sets, board games, headphones, etc.
For more information on where to donate items or for volunteer opportunities, you can visit the Open Door Mission's website.