ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–The new poor — including some suburbanites struggling to stay in their houses — are driving up the demand for Toys for Tots.
The Marine Corps charity, which provides new, unwrapped toys for kids up to age 18, reports requests for help from 110,000 people in the St. Louis region, compared to 89,000 last year.
“In the past, primarily people in the inner city and projects were having the difficulties,” said Sgt. Gavin Lewis, “Now, you’re seeing more people in suburbia that are struggling.”
Lewis says those applying for help are no longer just those below the poverty line. “Now, I’m seeing people living in a house with a thousand dollar mortgage,” Lewis said, “They’re paying their bills. They’re getting by, but not as they could be.”
Toys for Tots has been providing toys for the needy since 1947. Lewis says they especially need toys for one group that’s often forgotten — teenagers.
“A 17 year old girl does not want a Barbie Doll for Christmas,” Lewis said, “She’s looking for a hair dryer, perfume or something like that. An 18-year old boy is definitely not looking for a GI-Joe with the Kung-Fu grip. He’s wants an electric razor, camping equipment, something like that.”