Friday, 05 December 2014 22:49

Are Christmas Toy Drives Missing the Mark?

Written by 
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Giving what is needed

Every November and December, toy drives to benefit poor and homeless children are everywhere, but many homeless advocates are beginning to wonder whether some of this altruistic energy is being misdirected. It’s true that no child should ever endure a Christmas morning without toys, but many families are in such desperate need that toys are nowhere near the top of their wish list.

Sometimes the basics are best

Many philanthropists support organizations like Mercy House, which provides emergency, transitional and permanent housing to those in need. Based in Orange County, California, Mercy House offers dozens of free social services to homeless families. If children are living on the street or, even worse, are homeless and starving, then toys are a distant thought. A warm meal and a place to sleep are priorities for the chronically poor. Yes, toy drives are wonderful, and they fulfill a huge need in the homeless community. But what are some of the other ways we can help kids this holiday season? Homeless advocates in Virginiapoint to several things, besides toys, that can help those in need during these months of universal goodwill. A place to stay, nutritious food and safety are three of the most vital requirements for a happy holiday. Sadly, some families struggle just to secure one of those three, and toys aren’t even a consideration.

What are the options?

If you want to help homeless families and children this Christmas, consider donating some of the following to your local shelter or church: Suitcases: A local advocate for the homeless in state of Virginia pointed out that neglected kids in foster care move often, and they frequently have no appropriate luggage. Sadly, foster kids and homeless families default to trash bags for transporting their belongings. Movie tickets: What child doesn’t want to see a first-run movie in a real theater? Consider purchasing ticket coupons or gift cards from a large theater chain and donating them to your local church or homeless shelter. Hats and winter clothes: Sometimes the basics get forgotten when winter comes. Homeless moms, dads and children all need proper clothing to stay warm. Books: Popular books in good condition make great gifts to shelters. Your time: If you can spare a few hours each weekend during holiday time, virtually any local homeless charity can use you skills. Money: If you are worried about bureaucratic overhead in large organizations, think small and local. Rather than one large cash gift, consider giving several small donations to multiple recipients. Churches, individuals, homeless shelters, hospital-based charities and other micro-organizations can make a few dollars go a very long way. There are dozens of ways to help others throughout the year, and toy drives certainly have their place. We should also keep in mind that those on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder need many other goods and services to help them out of the poverty cycle. Keep an open mind this year, and do whatever you can to assist those in need. (No More Poverty was founded by Julian Omidi and Dr. Michael Omidi. The Omidi brothers’ goal is to end poverty at home and abroad by supporting the efforts of like-minded charities and agencies.)

Read 1481 times Last modified on Monday, 05 January 2015 17:56

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.