LAKELAND, Fla. - If anyone knows toys, it’s David Waller. His Christmas shopping list is longer than most.
As head of Toys for Tots of Polk County, this season, he is buying gifts for 15,500 kids.
"I suggest that parents wanting toys for Christmas this year begin shopping now," he told FOX 13 on a recent toy shopping trip in North Lakeland.
He says the earlier the better because experts are predicting a toy shortage.
Amy Saldanha, who owns Kiddywampus, a toy store in Minneapolis, is struggling to keep up with the demand.
"It is impossible to get certain toys. It is just not happening," she said.
In particular, she is having a hard time getting products made by Lego, Mattel, and others. Barbie and Thomas the Tank Engine have been especially difficult to keep in stock as well, she says.
Experts blame the shortage on the pandemic.
When COVID-19 hit, production at factories in Asia -- where many of the toys are made -- slowed down. Eventually, some shut down altogether.
Now that they are firing up once more, there are production back-ups there along with bottlenecks at U.S. ports.
And here is something that may complicate your holidays even more: since some raw materials are scarce, the price of certain toys may be up to 10% higher this year.
That’s not slowing down Waller. He is moving into high gear, buying cart after cart of toys for needy kids.
LINK: If you want to help Toys for Tots of Polk County, visit their website by clicking here.