San Jose

Sacred Heart Community Service's Annual Toy, Food Drives Benefit Bay Area's Low-Income Families

Thousands of people lined up Monday at Sacred Heart Community Service's annual holiday giveaway of food and toys for low-income families.

Due to high demand, however, the nonprofit is reaching out to the public in hopes of receiving more donations.

Sacred Heart officials are specifically asking the public to bring in gifts for teenagers. Although gifts for younger children – such as dolls or toy trucks – are still needed, there is a significant shortage of toys appropriate for older ages, they said.

"We are short about 5,000 toys for teens, such as headphones, tennis shoes, anything a teenager would be into," said Morgan Wordes, a Sacred Heart spokesperson.

The organization’s food drive also saw large crowds. By the end of Monday, more than 3,000 people will have nabbed a 50 lb. box of food to help them get through the holiday season.

Many of the people who stopped by to pick up a box are struggling with unemployment or are working jobs that don’t pay enough to offset the rising costs of living in the Bay Area.

In Santa Clara County, the poverty rate has gone up from 8.6 to 9.9 percent in the last five years, according to the federal government.

"I’m a software engineer. When I turned 56, I got laid off," said John Brugeman who hasn’t been able to find work for about two years.

Meanwhile, Greg Johnson, also unemployed, was thankful for the people who generously donated.

"I don’t know what I’d do without this," he said.

Sacred Heart is accepting donations through Wednesday. Volunteers from the Boy Scouts and Rotary Club will be helping out at 1381 South First Street in San Jose from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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