TAMPA - "Our numbers are severely down, probably in half I'd say," said Major Ed Zaleski.
There are dozens of empty boxes this year inside the Tampa Toys for Tots distribution center.
"If you look at the outer walls, that's where we've already sorted our toys. It was four to five times stacked as where we are today," said Zaleski comparing this year to last year.
You have to reach deep into boxes to find toys.
Major Zaleski says a joint toy drive with the U.S Post Office was a huge disappointment collecting 4-thousand instead of 20-thousand gifts because letter carriers weren't allowed to leave reminders in your mailbox.
"They put out a flyer which sits on top of the mail so it's the first thing you see and it reminds everybody hey, letter carrier day is coming up this Saturday, and they have time to go get their toy and have it out at the mailbox that Saturday morning, this year there was a change in policy," he said.
It’s also been a tough year for police officers collecting donations for Sincerely Santa which collects gifts for Tampa Police officers to distribute to local families. The toy drive is run by a retired Tampa Police Officer.
Corporate sponsors told them they couldn't help this year so officers are.
"Some of our squads in New Tampa even went to toys stores and actually got the managers to donate additional toys," said Captain Lee Bercaw.
"Instead of buying gifts, we would just contribute to the toy drive. So this way no one is expecting a gift, and I'd rather see it go to the children," said Lt. Yvette Flynn.
Each gift collected at Tampa Police Department precincts and in the Toys for Tots warehouse is headed to kids who won't have anything else.
But there are still so many empty boxes to fill.
"I thought it was sad that maybe 25-thousands kid weren't going to get a toy under the tree,” said Stacey Stettin.
“We just ran over to the store and grabbed a couple of presents,” said her daughter, Allie Schettino.
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