CHICAGO (CBS) — The most wonderful time of the year could be a big bust for thousands Chicago area children who depend on toys from the Salvation Army.

The organization is pretty desperate. Toy donations are down 30 percent across the Chicagoland area — 60 to 70 percent at some city locations.

They say it’s never been this bad so close to the holiday, and they need those toys by next week.

A room usually used to store toys is practically empty. What has been collected is not enough to serve the 1,200 children expecting toys from the Salvation Center on the Northwest side of the city.

“I’m saddened by this,” Maj. Steve Harper says. “I’m not looking forward to having to tell a child or a family that we don’t have anything for you this Christmas.”

At this point, there are some 700 children at the center who may get that bad news.

There are nearly 12,000 more at the 30 centers across the Chicagoland area, and their Christmas is also threatened because toy donations are down 30 percent.

Harper says some people who have donated in the past are in dire straits themselves.

The money collected by Salvation Army bell ringers helps provide food for needy families, but it doesn’t cover toys. Toys are what they need.

The Salvation Army is scheduled to pass out toys to children next Wednesday and Thursday.

If you’d like to give you can go to the agency’s website and find the center nearest you.

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