For the first time in the thirteen years of operation, Moncton-based What Kids Need, a charity that provides Christmas presents for families in need, has had to start a waitlist.
“We’re not even in December yet and we’ve already had 1,500 children registered,” What Kids Need founder Amanda Pooley said on Wednesday.
It’s the highest number of of registrations they’ve ever received, and Pooley said 40 children are currently on the waitlist.
“We put a waitlist in place so that we make sure that we give something to those 1,500 children before we accept any more and promise them that we’re going to help them as well,” Pooley said.
She said the cost of living has stretched budgets, leading to more people in need, while fewer people are able to donate toys.
She said there has been a large decrease in the number of sponsors assigned to buy toys for specific children. In 2022, there were 567 sponsors. This year there are 309.
“The cost of living is so expensive that some people don’t have any extra to help another family or give to a charity,” Pooley said, while noting they were seeing an increase in people purchasing toys from the charity’s Amazon wishlist.
Moncton Headstart executive director Caroline Donnelle said they were also seeing an increase in demand, and a decrease in donation.
Their “Toyland” campaign still has space available for those who want to register, but Donnelle says demand is higher than ever.
“Our donations have been down 40 or 50% across the board for the last couple of years. It’s been notable this year,” Donnelle said, referring to all of Headstart’s charitable campaigns.
She said they lost a major sponsor that typically contributes 500 toys each year, declining to elaborate on the reason the sponsor dropping out.
“We’ve had some donors step up with donations, so we’ve been able to replace some of that loss,” Donnelle said.
Pooley said it wasn’t surprising to hear another organization was struggling, given the current economic climate. She’s asking the public to give toys, or monetary donations they can use to buy toys so they won’t have to turn anyone away.
“We have never turned a child away before in the thirteen years that we’ve been doing this, I don’t want to think about doing that because I don’t want to think about how I would feel to turn someone away.”
Donnelle echoed the plea for donations, saying anyone interested in giving can bring new, unwrapped toys to their Mountain Road location or donate money so they can purchase toys.
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