Dec. 3—Christmas is only three weeks away and an annual toy drive could use a lot more help rounding up presents for kids in need this year.
"We're getting pretty close to 1,200 kids and we still have, as of (Tuesday) night, we still have about 679 kiddos that we need sponsored, said Morgan Eiler, who runs Littlest Angels, a Boys & Girls Club of Cooke County program.
Eiler and her staff work with other local nonprofits — VISTO, Abigail's Arms, daycare providers, etc. — to find families that need help to make Christmas happen for their kids.
"People are also able to come in to us and request that assistance as well," Eiler said. "They just fill out a wish list form and their children's information: name, ages, clothing sizes and then any needs or wishes that they have."
Toys and warm clothes are both big needs.
"We have a lot of lists that are asking for basic needs, like undergarments, clothes and warm jackets, too," she said. "We also have the kids put their likes and any toys that they like (onto lists) — Nintendo Switches, building blocks, soccer balls and footballs, jewelry and, you know, all the fun stuff that kiddos like."
Bikes are a popular ask, too.
"If a child asks for a bike, we do our best to provide that child with a bike because we love it. It promotes that they get outside and they're playing and being active. So every kid that asks for one gets one," said Eiler.
How it works
Shopping lists are given to sponsors. They go do the shopping and bring the gifts (typically around $150 worth) back to the Boys & Girls Club, which in turn distributes them to parents. Sponsors often go through the folders themselves and look at the candidates themselves.
"Sponsors are able to look through those folders and pull a kid out ... a lot of people like to take their kids shopping with them to kind of show them the true spirit of Christmas," Eiler noted.
Time running out
Eiler said the program had planned to cutoff collections and start distributing to families around Dec. 17, but that's just two weeks away and over half of the children in need still need sponsors. To get involved, call Eiler at 940-665-6527 or visit the club, 315 N. Denton St. in Gainesville, Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
For more information, visit bgccooke.com/littlest-angels.