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Dallas Children's Advocacy Center Says More Donated Christmas Presents Needed Amid Pandemic Spike In Child Abuse

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The elves have been busy at the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center Holiday of Hope gift drive – sorting, packing, and shopping for 2,000 children who have been victims of abuse.

But their North Pole isn't nearly at capacity.

"Even though this looks like a lot, it will not be enough. We will see these toys deplete very quickly," said Murphey Sears, Chief Development Officer for DCAC.

Abuse rates have skyrocketed during COVID-19, and that means more children than ever are in need of donations, especially at Christmas. Each child – and siblings – will receive a necessity item, like a fuzzy blanket or pajamas, a book, and three or four toys or games.

"The ability for us to provide them with holiday gifts returns joy to their life," said Sears.

The greatest need is in donations for teens.

For example, 400 teens have requested headphones, but so far they've only received 164.

Sears said the donation shortfall is likely a sign of the times.

"I think that with people living in this new normal, I think it can be hard to remember about those who are really, truly in need.

"I think to have it in your mind that there are some kids who will be writing to Santa or asking their parents or grandparents for things that maybe aren't necessarily going to be under the tree is a tough thing, and anything we can do to help that, we should definitely do it," said volunteer Trenton Henson.

This Saturday is the deadline for donations to be delivered by Christmas. Sears is counting on an 11th hour rush of generosity to make every child's wishes come true.

"Unless we receive things in a much more plentiful fashion, we are going to run out," she said.

New, unwrapped gifts for children up to 18 years old can be dropped off at DCAC.

Donations can also be made online.

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