Economy hits toy donations in Westchester Co.

December 10, 2009 2:41:45 PM PST
Barbara Sabater is collecting and carrying gifts for the annual gift drive for Westchester's foster children, but this year she admits that she is nowhere near busy enough. "I'm in really unchartered territory here. My husband can tell you, I haven't slept in two weeks," she said.

And here's why: thanks to the poor economy, Sabater, who works for the county's Department of Social Services, only has a few dozen gifts. Those gifts are supposed to go to Westchester's 900 foster children.

A conference room was filled with several thousand gifts at this time last year. All of the gifts were sort by sections for boys, for girls, for teens -- all of them ready to be wrapped and delivered.

Two weeks before this Christmas and the conference room is nearly empty. A small pile of gifts of about 50 toys sits in the room.

"It's always nice to be able to give something that's not expected, that's not something so generic or hand-me-downs. It's something that is brand new that they would like," Sabater said.

Sabater has pushed back her gift-giving deadline by one week. That should give her enough time to sort, wrap and distribute the gifts that hopefully will arrive in time for Christmas.

To learn how you can help, please visit the Westchester County's website at