Giving back this holiday season

Giving back this holiday season

Addison Williams

Giving back to the community is one of the most important activities of the holiday season, and charitable organizations are collecting special donations to make sure that children and their families can celebrate without the stress of financial burdens. 

The Angel Tree program is a program that specializes in helping children in need receive Christmas gifts, specifically catering to children 14 and under. Schools, associations, and other individuals who wish to donate can choose to adopt an angel. An “angel” is a child in need whose family has applied for the program. Donors are given a list that shows the child’s sizes for clothes, gifts of interest, and any other items that they would like to add like toys or books. 

Adoptions took place virtually this year, and gifts can be dropped off at the designated parking lots listed on the Angel Tree website (or any North Texas salvation army location). Gifts will be distributed between Dec. 14-20. 

Collin County Toys for Tots is an organization that aims to provide toys for young children whose families cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. Toys for Tots partners with non-profit organizations to provide a means for families to register and receive donations before Christmas day. To volunteer, individuals are encouraged to become a “Santa’s Helper” and register to help with toy distributions and deliveries at their local warehouse. 

Toys for Tots coordinator Maria LeGall provides insight on Toys for Tots’ goals for the holiday season, and the previous donations they have received over the past few years. 

Our primary goal is to make sure every child receives a Christmas. It’s about bringing joy to that boy or girl and easing the stress of parents during the Christmas season,” said LeGall. “Last year we distributed 42,957 toys and supported 21,479 children. This year, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our numbers may increase.”

LeGall also shares how to navigate their website, and what others can do to donate to Toys for Tots.

“When you are ready to donate, you can select the red button that reads, ‘Donate Local’ on the right side of the page on our website, and you will be able to submit a monetary donation to your Collin County Toys for Tots program,” she said. “Please visit our Amazon Wish List that is also linked on our website, separated by age range. These toys will be shipped directly to our warehouse.”

Project Linus is another local organization that provides and distributes blankets to children and families. The blankets are created with love and care, and after receiving them, the children will have something that they can always rely on for support. Project Linus delivers over 500 blankets every month to various hospitals, shelters, and social service organizations. This month, they are already set to deliver over 1,000 blankets. 

Project Linus chapter coordinator Regina Forthman shares how Project Linus was created by founder Karen Loucks, and the legacy that it holds today. 

“On Christmas Eve in 1995, an article titled ‘Joy to the World’ was published in Parade Magazine. The article was about a little three-year-old girl named Laura, and how she had made it through excruciating chemotherapy treatments because she always brought her special blanket with her,” said Forthman. “After reading the article, Karen Loucks decided to provide new handmade security blankets for children to her local cancer center.”

Forthman details Project Linus’ mission for this holiday season, and goals they are set to achieve within different regions in North Texas. 

“Our mission is to provide love, a sense of security, warmth, and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need, through the gifts of new handmade blankets, lovingly provided by our volunteers,” she said. “Our goal is to maintain and exceed the quality standards already set forth and to serve any child in need of comfort in Collin, Grayson, and Rockwall Counties.”

To learn more information about these charities and discover ways to donate, please visit the links below to access each charity’s website. Alongside friends and family, reach out to a local charity this holiday season, as even one small donation can make the biggest difference.

Project Linus

Toys for Tots

Angel Tree