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Charities scramble to find holiday gifts for kids due to supply chain issues

With Christmas less than four weeks away, Kristyn Begari has been rushing to find enough doll styling heads to give to children in need.

But, California-based Family Giving Tree’s purchasing coordinator said it was hard to find them, along with Barbies or Disney princess dolls of various races. Other charities that give to children over the holidays say they also face challenges in finding enough game consoles, laptops and other electronic items amid a global shortage of chips used in cars, phones and other devices.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Begari said. “Our biggest fear is that we’re not going to get the quality of gifts we want, or we’re not going to get enough in general.”

Trying to grant thousands of vacation wish requests has always been a challenge for Begari. But it has been downright miserable this year, as bottlenecks in the global supply chain create shortages on many items, making it difficult to grant many holiday wishes for the 34,000 children and adults that the lodge has to offer. The organization expects to help in the Bay Area this holiday season.

Some wholesalers have already informed her that purchases will not arrive, giving her the option of getting a refund or purchasing another item. If a child doesn’t get their favorite gift, she said the organization will try to grant their “second wish” or find another replacement item.

Similar concerns are being felt across the country, as supply chain problems related to COVID – produced by clogged US ports, a lack of workers to move cargo, and skyrocketing shipping costs – lead to empty shelves and higher prices for some products.

The slowdown in the supply chain is one of the main reasons why donations of new toys to the Toy Foundation have declined by nearly 80% in dollar value this year compared to 2019, according to Pamela Mastrota, director. group executive, which was formed by a toy industry trade association to act as an industry-wide charitable collective for manufacturers.

The lack of trade shows due to the COVID-19 pandemic also hampered their fundraising efforts for the second year in a row, straining their ability to secure gifts for sick, impoverished or other vulnerable children. in need.

“It’s been a real challenge this year and last year,” said Mastrota. “But especially this year.

Mastrota’s only hope now is for more toys to be donated quickly. But such donations could further accentuate the profit margins of manufacturers who face high shipping costs and pressures to pass the increased costs on to consumers.

Jim Silver, CEO of Toys, Tots, Pets & More, a toy industry review website, said charities should see fewer toy donations from manufacturers this holiday season because Many containers with their products are stranded at U.S. ports, which have seen record shipping container volumes as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

“There is going to be a shortage,” he said. “Without a doubt.”

Last month, President Joe Biden announced plans to establish a 24-hour operation at the Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest, to contain inflation caused by ships waiting to berth and the shortage of truck drivers to transport goods. Port officials said some of the bottlenecks have since eased, but experts note that it will be a long time before things return to normal.

Silver notes that small and medium-sized manufacturers who largely produce toys in countries like China feel more pressured by supply chain issues than the larger ones. But the upheaval is also being felt at MGA Entertainment, the American toy giant that manufactures Bratz! and LOL Surprise! Dolls.

Isaac Larian, CEO of the company, says they were only able to meet 70% of the demand for items as the company waits for hundreds of containers full of toys to clear California ports.

“These goods are not going to arrive on Christmas,” Larian said. And toys that are in stores now cost 23% more than last year, he noted. His advice to anyone looking to get a toy is simple: buy now.

Despite an earlier planning process, many requests for gifts for game systems and other items submitted to One Simple Wish are either out of stock or facing significant delivery delays, said Daniella Gletow, Founder of the One Simple Wish. organization, which works with social service agencies across the country to make vacation wishes that anyone can grant for children in need easier.

“This obviously delays our ability to make sure that we will be able to meet all of these needs in time for the holidays,” Gletow said. “.

To avoid further delays, she says, the organization encourages donors to grant their wishes sooner than they have in previous years.

Toys for Tots, the nation’s best-known toy donation campaign run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve, does not expect any shortages, said David Cooper, vice president of operations for the United States. organization. He said the organization purchased around $ 16.5 million worth of toys this spring to mitigate the impact supply chain issues could have on donations.

There are concerns that more families will sign up to receive toys from them this year due to the higher costs. However, a spokesperson for Toys for Tots said early indicators of their holiday fundraising efforts were pointing in a positive direction.

Some of their donations in the past have gone to The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, which also collects gifts for children and families in need during the holidays. The organization estimates that approximately 5 million gifts are given each year through the program. Although this year, Salvation Army commissioner Kenneth Hodder says many children may not receive their gifts on time.

“We encourage everyone who has generously supported us in the past and would like to do so again this year, to shop early and get these toys to us as quickly as possible,” he said.

At Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse, concerns relate to shipping delays. David Thompson, senior director of the international part of the group’s “Operation Christmas Child” project, says the organization aims to send 9.7 million shoe boxes filled with Christian materials and gifts to children in more than 100 countries. But a shortage of truckers, delivery equipment and other factors has slowed things down.

“We have to be flexible,” said Thompson. “But our national teams, volunteers and logistics networks are strong. And we are confident that the program will be conducted to the same level of excellence as it has been in the past.


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