According to City Room, the city’s gift program that has been distributing small, personal items, including scarves, backpacks and watches, to the needy since 2002 is feeling the recession pressure. The program has been known to spend about thousands on gifts for single men and women in shelters, including $25,000 buying more than 6,500 watches.

CityRoom seems amused that the city would spend so much money to buy shelter residents watches—there's even a photograph of some watchless men outside a Brooklyn shelter. The Coalition for the Homeless's executive director Mary Brosnahan said, "I have a waiting room of people every morning in desperate need of help, and I’ve been at the coalition for 20 years and never heard anyone say they needed a watch." But Philip F. Mangano, former executive director of the United State Interagency Council on Homelessness, noted watches were useful for interviews and shelter curfews."

Overall, Robert V. Hess, the commissioner of the city’s Department of Homeless Services, “These are very difficult economic times.” Fortunately, the children will not be affected because their gifts are traditionally donated by others.