It's toy distribution day at East Palo Alto's Ecumenical Hunger Program, or EHP. Here, parents pick out the only gifts their children will open on Christmas, but this year things are different.
"Here's the gifts for the younger kids. For the older kids, we didn't have enough to service them," said a worker from the Ecumenical Hunger Program.
The non-profit doesn't have enough for 400, of its 4,000 needy children.
"We've been out of gifts for teenagers for the past couple of days and we've had to turn people away, the teenagers, and right now, we're suffering more because the gifts for those eight and up, the shelves are empty," said Lesia Preston, from the Ecumenical Hunger Program.
There are four kids on Mike Francois' Christmas list and he was only able to pick out gifts for the younger two.
"When I can't give to them, when I want to give to them, it makes me feel empty, makes me feel useless," said Mike Francois, from East Palo Alto.
All of EHP's gifts come from the community and from other agencies, but this year the need was up while donations were down.
The same is true at the Family Giving Tree, a Christmas gift supplier for social service groups. Two-hundred and fifty non profits including EHP, asked the children they serve to fill out wish cards and 60,000 were then given to the Family Giving Tree, but for the first time the Giving Tree could not fulfill the wishes of 10,000 children.
"This year when we watched the economy sinking and sinking, we decided to just have our goal be 10,000 less," said Jennifer Cullenbine, from the Family Giving Tree.
The agency did reach its goal of 50,000 gifts, but only after dipping into the company's savings account. Still, none of the agencies have closed their warehouses. They're hoping for a last minute gift donation surge, to help the thousands of children, they originally couldn't.
Ecumenical Hunger Program
2411 Pulgas Ave
East Palo Alto
Family Giving Tree
You can donate at any Wells Fargo Bank or at the warehouse:
2400 Condensa Street
Santa Clara, CA 95051
They need 10,000 gifts and many for the older kids too. Some of the same gift suggestions as above are the top requested.