A team with Coalition for the Homeless recently opened boxes filled with with toys and other holiday gifts, hoping many more are on the way. The items are destined for children in city shelters.
"Our goal is to get these toys out to the shelters by Christmas," said Elizabeth Morales, emergency goods distribution manager for the Coalition For the Homeless.
The coalition is the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless individuals and families. They’re putting on their annual toy drive with the goal of collecting 10,000 gifts for kids and teens in shelters.
The coalition put together an Amazon wish list to make it easy for people to donate gifts. In addition to toys for the youngest shelter residents, there’s a need for gifts for teenagers like ear buds and hair, makeup and fragrance items.
“Getting a gift for a kid specifically in the shelters means a lot for them. That’s probably the only gift they’ll get for the whole year,” Morales said.
It’s all hands on deck for the box opening and sorting at the coalition’s Lower Manhattan headquarters. Staff like after-school program site supervisor Sierra Feliciano and group leader Clarissa Calle are pitching in, along with Morales, a Bronx native who has been part of the effort for 12 years.
“Doing this and working here at the coalition makes me feel better, to give back to the community, to the children, to the people we serve,” Morales said.
Morales say they hope to hit the 10,000 toys and gifts goal by Dec. 15, so everything can be delivered to shelters in time for Christmas. To help, head to their website.