By Alana Gomez, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Erika Vargas is a social worker who helps deliver donated presents to families in need every year, but sometimes she has to deliver bad news.

“It is pretty heartbreaking all of a sudden you see them change, their shoulders drop that’s why when we start we tell them it’s just requests, there’s no guarantee things are gonna come in,” said Vargas.

And a lot of wishlists may be left empty at the Home for Little Wanderers. The non-profit helps foster children and families in need. The organization says donations for kids over the age of 13 are down 33% compared to last year.

WBZ-TV’s Alana Gomez reports

“For our kids to wake up on Christmas morning and not have anything under the tree or not to be able to tell their friends that they got something, that’s really heartbreaking for me,” said Colleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Volunteer and Community Outreach.

Fitzpatick says store gift cards and electronics are some of the top requests, but some teens are just asking for help supporting their family.

“We do have a lot of teens who are very responsible,” says Fitzpatrick. “They have a Stop and Shop gift card on their wishlist because they’re trying to help their family put a meal on the table.”

The deadline for donations is 8p.m. Thursday. Those interested can go online to to find gifts still needed.

Comments (2)
  1. LP says:

    This is heartbreaking, but I have to say – I went to the site to see what I can do to help. These kids’ wish lists all consist of expensive gifts like electronics, video game consoles, laptops, etc. It’s really no wonder giving is down. Is there something the organization can do to curb this?? Put some guidelines on what these children are asking for? I hate for any child to go without gifts on Christmas but in this economy most of us just can’t afford to give such extravagant gifts and I feel like by not setting guidelines on these wishlists, the children are just being set up for disappointment.

    1. The Home for Little Wanderers says:

      Hi LP. The Home for Little Wanderers appreciates your concerns about some of the more expensive items that youth have included on their wish lists. There are still many children whose wishes are far more reasonable and include practical items of clothing, personal hygiene items, and gift cards. When you go to The Home’s website at, you can sort wish lists by age and specific item (such as gift card, clothing, etc.). Children include essential items in addition to a “stretch item” on their lists each year. Thank you for your interest and to everyone who has reached out to us since this story was on the news earlier today.

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