Toy donations across metro Detroit are down ahead of the holiday season

toy donations down
Posted at 3:07 PM, Dec 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-03 15:20:33-05

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Volunteers across metro Detroit are trying to raise awareness about holiday donation drives.

In Dearborn Heights, the owner of VIP Carwash on Ford Road says he's collecting toys of all sizes for kids who might otherwise go without.

"I want to see toys. I want to fill up a semi trailer of toys," said Paul Abousouan of VIP Carwash.

Abousouan says this is his third year collecting toys for Toys for Tots. He says in the previous two years, they were able to fill up a box with donations from customers by now.

He says this year things are off to a slow start.

"I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if it's the cost of everything going up and it's just not in their budget because they’re spending more money on food and necessities," said Abousouan.

To encourage people to give what they can, big or small, Abousouan says he's offering a free car wash to anyone who donates.

"It's all about the kids. It's about knowing that kid is going to have a gift under the tree with a smile on their face. Sadly, there’s kids who don’t get that toy under the tree," Abousouan said.

In Lake Orion, volunteers are also collecting toys. Bottomless Toy Chest is the nonprofit behind the drive. They're working to fill a van with toys at Canterbury Village this holiday season.

"We’re really there to help a child’s emotional state of mind and toys can help a child enter that wonderful world of imagination where anything is possible," said Mickey Guisewite who is the founder of Bottomless Toy Chest.

Bottomless Toy Chest focuses on getting toys to kids who are fighting terminal illnesses in Michigan hospitals. Guisewite says they deliver toys year round and in years past have given out upwards of 30,000 toy experiences to sick children in Michigan.

She says donations have been slow for her organization too.

"We’re still kind of trying to rebuild after the last two years," said Guisewite. "I wish that people could see the difference a toy could make in the life of a child who is facing critical or terminal illness. Toys allow children to feel comfortable, they help children to feel in control of something and empowered."

Volunteers say despite the lull in donations, they're hopeful things will turn around in the next few weeks.

"I find that people in our community are incredibly generous. No matter what they’re going through. I find that people always want to come out and help and support us," said Guisewite.

The toy drive at VIP Carwash runs until December 18. People interested in donating can bring brand new, unused toys to the location at 27275 Ford Road in exchange for a free car wash.

The toy collection at VIP Car wash will continue through the holiday season however, the nonprofit collects toys year round.

More information about where to donate throughout the year can be found on their website by clicking here.

If you would like to donate toys to the Bottomless Toy Chest, click here.