A Winnipeg group that works to ensure inner city children wake to presents under the tree on Christmas morning is running low on donations this year.

Chelsea Cardinal helped found the city’s Christmas Shoebox Drive, which gathers donations and converts them into small presents for children in need.

“They live in some of the most difficult situations we can think of,” said Cardinal, adding Christmas is a difficult time for strapped parents. “It can be very shameful to have to call the Christmas Cheer Board. It can be very shameful to have to stand in line at Siloam Mission waiting for presents.”

The program is now in its third year and has seen some large donations in past years.

Lorette resident Gaylene Olyniuk filled up 15 boxes for children this year.

Christmas Shoebox Drive

These toys have been donated for the Christmas Shoebox Drive, but the program needs many more. (Jillian Taylor/CBC)

“It makes me feel terrible and makes me realize that our kids have so much stuff. Some of the things are band new things that I purged from my kids that they won’t even notice,” she said. “We need to spread it around. We need to share.”

Despite Olyniuk’s generous donation, Cardinal said this year’s collection has been very slow.

She’s asking any Winnipeggers who can to donate a shoe box filled with goodies for a child in need. Anything from toys, craft supplies, gift cards, colouring books, puzzles, make up or candy can be stuffed in the boxes.

The small gifts make a world of difference to their recipients, according to Cardinal.

For the last two years, Christy Salwan’s five children received gifts through the program.

“It helps a lot. It’s probably the hardest time of year [for] even the working poor because it’s Christmas and kids want gifts,” she said.

“[My children] were happy with everything they got from there,” said Salwan. “It was small, but it meant something to them.”

Donations can be made at one of two drop off sites, including one at 482 Young St. More information can be found on Cardinal’s Facebook page for the event.