An Edmonton homeless shelter is asking people to get into the Christmas spirit by donating a small gift — necessary things such as toiletries, socks and clothing.

With less than a week to go before Christmas, the Hope Mission is scrambling to make sure it has enough gifts for men and women who stay at the shelter.

Staff say with more people on the street this year, the shelter needs the public to pitch in.

Joey Amos, a mission worker, told CBC News that basic items are the most-needed items at the men's shelter.

"It's the little stuff that we take for granted,"Joey Amos, a mission worker, told CBC News.

"Here at the shelter we're always short of these [kinds of things] and the moment we put these out, within 10 minutes they're all gone because of the number of men that are here."

Every donation makes a big difference, he said.

"It sure means a lot to them, because they're far away from home or some of them are just in a bad situation at that time," Amos said.

Women want to give kids gifts

At the women's shelter there's also a need for new toys so female residents can give their children a Christmas gift.

Janelle Aker, spokesperson for the Hope Mission, said the women's shelter has plenty of second-hand donations, but at Christmas they ask for donations of new items — even something as simple as a bottle of shampoo or a face cloth.

"As great as it is to give [a used item] to someone in need, for a Christmas gift that isn't necessarily the case," Aker said.

The Hope Mission is open for donations during regular business hours.