SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In years past, even the hallways at Things of My Very Own were filled with toys. Volunteers used to squeeze through towers of boxes of toys while they worked. But this year, it’s a different story.

The toy storage room had to be replenished by staff Tuesday evening, and it’s still a far cry from what it used to look like.

“We thought 2020 was going to be the hardest hit. Nothing has compared to this year,” said Rayn Boncie, CEO and Founder of the nonprofit that provides crisis intervention for kids all over the Capital Region.

Every year, people in the community pick up wish tags and sponsor kids who have recently been through trauma, donating items on their individual lists. When no one picks up a child’s tag by the time their gifts are being sent out, volunteers fill the gift bag with toys from the nonprofit’s toy room. 

“This year, just in the first round, we had hundreds of children that were not sponsored,” Boncie said, “so that went through our entire inventory of toys for the year. So by the time we hit the second round, there was nothing left to give.”

Things of My Very Own took to social media, writing on Facebook:

“Tonight we had a rather sad situation. We were pulling toys for children whose Wish Tags were taken, but that were not sponsored. The shelves in the toy room were practically bare. We searched high and low, hither and yon, but alas—it was slim pickings. The families we serve deserve better. We are especially in need of toys for older children—12 and up. LEGOS, make-up kits, science kits, fishing poles, LED lights and art supply kits, would all make great gifts for these children. Please help us to help these children, and help us stock our toy room shelves!”

Janet, Things of My Very Own volunteer

Team members headed out to shop for children whose wish tags were taken but not sponsored. Boncie said it was a tough night for staff.

“It’s been very emotional for us to see these children not sponsored because we know them personally. What’s important is, we’re not going to leave them behind, and we’re hoping members of the community will step up,” she explained.

Boncie said the need is greater than ever. Signups for people needing the program filled up at an unprecedented rate.

There is still time to sponsor a child. Wish Tags are still available at the Town of Niskayuna Office Building and Slice of Glenville. Most gifts are due by December 17.