SOUTH GATE, Calif. — Christmas time is here, and 9-year-old Carlos Quiñones knows exactly what that means.

“I want a new charger for my hoverboard, because I lost mine and pretty much whatever Santa wants to bring me,” said Carlos.

He, along with hundreds of other families lined up, some hours early, for a toy giveaway in South Gate.

What You Need To Know

  • Because of Covid the number of toy drive events have been significantly cut down this year

  • The Toys for Tots program in OC handed out 230,000 toys in 2019, this year they've collected only 20,000

  • Toys for Tots OC had 170 toy drives in 2019, due to Covid restrictions they've had 15 in 2020

  • To donate you can visit:

The pandemic has been tough on this Latino neighborhood, but it’s been tough on Quiñones’ family too. His mom is a health care worker and his father’s business has taken a hit.

“It’s been kind of hard, a little bit. You’re not able to go a lot of places all the time. It’s really hard and also online school that’s hard too,” said the 9-year-old.

Carlos looked forward to getting a present at the toy giveaway, problem is, they ran out toys just half an hour after the event started.

“I was going to come to the toy drive but there was no tickets we ran out,” said Carlos. “We never even knew we needed tickets, so we are just going to head back home.”

Going home empty-handed is beginning to happen more and more for families during toy giveaways says Marine Corps Sgt. Powell.

“We have to deny families and tell them we don’t have that many donations, and that’s the part the sucks the most about having this job," Powell said.

Sgt. Powell is the Toys for Tots coordinator in Orange County. He says for example, his program used to have 170 toy drives. Because of COVID-19 this year, they’ve had 15.

“Last year we had about 230,000 toys that were donated to the Orange County Toys for Tots campaign. This year, we are sitting at about 20,000,” said Powell.
But despite the shortage they aren’t collecting any more items.

“The only reason we are not accepting donations is because we can’t even have that many volunteers this year to help us count the toys, to sort the toys,” said Powell.

That means more kids will be short on toys this year, but Carlos hopes they’ll at least go to kids that need them more.

“I also want some homeless kids and in the hospital, to get gifts that they never had, and to have a good childhood, just like I did,” said Carlos.