The team behind the Emergency Toy Drive in Pittsburgh.

When word broke late last week that Toys for Tots was unable to meet the increased demand for local toy donations—leaving thousands of kids without toys for Christmas–Pittsburghers responded fast.

The Emergency Toy Drive, spearheaded by partners Most Wanted Fine Art, Nina Sauer, Jason Sauer, Pittsburgh Bloggers, Jodi Hirsch, Sue Kerr, Jennifer England and Lindsay Patross, is working to fill the gap.

With eight identified local nonprofits still needing donations (organizations that will reach approximately 1,470 kids), the Emergency Toy Drive has been taking donations throughout the weekend to assist with this demand.

Through this drive, the people of Pittsburgh have stepped up to help fill the need. As of today, more than $9,800 has been donated along with hundreds of toys. And more is coming.

Want to join the cause? Donate time, money, toys or any combination of the three. The Facebook page is updated regularly with up-to-date volunteer information, identifying specific volunteer needs and locations that are most in need of assistance. Monetary donations, which will go to help fill the remaining gift donation needs, can be made here or by connecting directly with a 501c3 organization through IHeartPGH.com.

Toy and gift donations can be dropped off at Most Wanted Fine Art (locations in the Waterfront and on Penn Avenue); at this point, gifts for older kids (around the 10-16 age range) are most needed. And everyone, regardless of free time or funds, can help raise awareness of this drive using the hashtag #PGHSavesXMAS on social media.

According to Lindsay Patross of IHeartPGH.com, the Emergency Toy Drive will be ongoing through the holiday. “The drive will continue through Christmas Eve, or even Christmas Day if there is need, until the needs of the nonprofits are met.”

She is certain, however, that the drive will meet its goal thanks to the generosity of volunteers and donors, allowing the group to provide continued assistance. “We are going to meet our goal,” she says, “and any surplus funding will go to supporting these organizations in the future.”

While there will be a meeting after the holidays to determine how any excess funding will be distributed, these partners are committed to continuing support for these Pittsburgh nonprofits.

In the meantime, the outpouring of assistance and generosity from Pittsburghers continues, from blogger Melissa Firman to donors listed under anonymous, ensuring a happier holiday season for many area families.

Updates and more information can be found at IHeartPGH.com.

Jennifer Reeher

Jennifer is a writer, photographer, and social activist who is absolutely in love with the City of Pittsburgh. She is dedicated to snack food, great literature, and making the world a better place one...