See more of the story

Twin Cities donors stepped up this week after the Salvation Army reported it had a shortage of toys that left it unable to provide gifts for 1,800 of 17,000 Twin Cities children in need.

The nonprofit, which will finish distributing toys to families on Monday, said Friday that it had received enough toys to close the shortfall.

“I’m never shocked in the generosity of people,” said Dan Furry, the nonprofit’s spokesman.

The Salvation Army says more ­families were in need of toys this year, up from 14,300 children last year. In Minnesota, the lack of affordable housing is squeezing finances for many. Food shelves in 2018 hit a record 3.4 million visits, according to St. Paul advocacy group Hunger Solutions. Homelessness also reached a record high, rising 10% from 2015 to 2018, according to Wilder Research.

The Salvation Army is also seeing a decline in donations to its familiar red kettles in the Twin Cities, despite debuting new smartphone pay options nationwide this year that allow people to tap to donate via Apple Pay or Google Pay. As of Tuesday, the nonprofit was short $377,000 from this time last year in its kettle campaign, which aims to bring in $3 million by Christmas Eve to support its programs feeding, sheltering and providing other services to low-income and homeless people.

A group of donors has pledged to match donations for up to $1 million that are given to the Salvation Army from Friday to Tuesday, doubling the organization’s fundraising. People can give online at salvationarmynorth.org or at red kettles at stores across the Twin Cities through Christmas Eve.

One generous donor has done his or her part. This week, the anonymous donor dubbed “St. Grand” dropped a seventh $1,500 donation of crisp $100 bills into red kettles, bundled the same way he or she always does. The secretive philanthropist, who has given to the kettles every season since 2011, has now donated a total of $10,500 this year.

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141