AUSTIN -- The empty space on the shelves of the SafePlace warehouse is an unusual site.
"These shelves are usually packed," said SafePlace Communications Coordinator Jenny Martin, "from the floor to the ceiling."
Donations are down 80 percent to the SafePlace warehouse, and the absence of toys and gifts means the 130 people who are living in the shelter, seeking refuge from physically and sexually abuse relationships, will have to go without.
Normally, parents and children are able to come in and pick out gifts to give one another.
"It's a really hard time of the year for families that are living in the shelter. You know the kids may be confused about why they're not living with their family and obviously the parent is going through a really hard time. And we just try to make it as happy of a time as we can for them," said Martin.
The other reason why donations are so critical is because the toys are not only used as Christmas gifts, but throughout the year.
"Every time a new family comes into the shelter, we want to be able to give the kids a welcome gift," explained Martin. "And then also we try to pick out birthday gifts for the kids year round for the families living in our shelter and in our supportive housing complex. So lately we haven't been able to do that either."
SafePlace is asking the community to pull together and donate not only children's gifts but also items for teenagers and adults. Martin suggests hosting a holiday party and asking guests to bring unwrapped items to help fill the shelves; making the holiday season a little easier for a family going through a hard time.
If you are interested in helping, you can drop off donations to the SafePlace warehouse at 1515 Grove Boulevard. It is open from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and until 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.