The expression on a child’s face as they open a Christmas present is priceless. Is it the Hatchimal they’ve been dreaming about? A Star Wars Lego set? Or maybe a shiny new bike with training wheels? As they tear through the paper, the possibility of what has been wrapped seems endless…
And while we’d all like to believe that every child across Greater Atlanta’s 13-county region will open a present this Christmas, we know that doesn’t happen. Let me help you put this in perspective.
Each year, United Way of Greater Atlanta’s 2-1-1 – a contact center that provides resources for children and their families – receives monthly calls consistently asking for the same three basic needs requests: food, rent and utilities. That changes in December. During the holidays, one of the top three requests drops off the list and is replaced by requests for toys. That means families that may need assistance with food, rent and utilities are going without one of those basic needs in order to provide their kids with the joy of opening a Christmas present – a joy that many of us take for granted each year. That’s heartbreaking.
Now comes “the ask.” As you continue your holiday shopping this week, think about the children that may not get a gift this Christmas. They won’t have the excitement and anticipation that you remember as a child, unless you do something to help. If you’re grabbing a Hatchimal for your child, pick up an extra one. The same goes for that Lego set or bike. The children in our community need you, but you don’t have much time. The deadline to donate is this Sunday, December 18 at any local Publix as well as other participating Toys for Tots drop off locations – click here to find one near you.
Chad Parker is the Director of Multimedia Content at United Way of Greater Atlanta. He can be reached at [email protected]