LONG BEACH (CBSLA) – The logjam of ships waiting to unload at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have left one organization that provides toys for children in need in danger of not having enough to handout.

Nov. 23, 2021

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Linda Moran and her twin sister, Brenda Wilson, showed CBSLA one of their empty storage spaces that is usually filled by now for their annual Children’s Christmas Store.

The event provides some 2,000 children from homeless and low-income families a space to shop for toys, shoes and clothes. The families also receive supermarket gift cards.

“This day belongs to the children. We want them to forget about that they live in an encampment, we want them to forget about if they’re in a shelter. This is your day,” said Wilson, the Executive Director of the New Image Emergency Shelter.

With less than three weeks before the annual event, that many of the neediest children and families look forward to, there just are not enough toys to pass out.

The sisters, who founded New Image Emergency Shelter more than 30 years ago, said the nation’s ongoing supply chain crisis is to blame.

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“So, we are scrambling worse than we did last year to try to get enough toys. We need at least 40,000 toys,” Wilson said.

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Moran said that 63% of the toys she was supposed to get this this year from their two largest donors are still stuck in containers at the Port of Long Beach. She said that port officials told her she will likely be unable to get the toys for another several months.

“Their explanation was there are taxes being raised so they’re not going to be able to get it to us until after Christmas,” Moran said.

Moran and Wilson said they were able to hold a drive-through event last year, but this year, they want the children to experience the Christmas Store the way it’s meant to be experienced, with lots of elves, tons of toys and endless love and compassion.

“We are reaching out now because we need your help. We need these rooms filled because with every room that’s filled, there’s a happy little body,” Moran said.

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The children who participate have been chosen and referred by social services agencies and other community groups. Moran and Wilson said they would appreciate toy donations that will be waiting for the children at the Hilton Hotel in Long Beach on December 18.

“It’s very emotional, as you can see, but it’s very rewarding and that’s what matters,” said Wilson.

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Anyone interested in donating can call the New Image Emergency Shelter in Long Beach at 562-822-7657 for more information.