CHRISTMAS EMERGENCY! 100’s of Kids and no Toys! UPDATED

Folks, I know things are tight all over and it’s late in the season, and you probably have already made your charitable gifts for Christmas, but I wonder if I can tug at your sleeve for a little help.

There is an agency in Paterson, New Jersey, connected to Catholic Charities, and doing outreach and counseling for troubled families — in some cases Dad is jail or recently out — who are struggling to make it and succeed as families.

Normally, this organization receives donations of toys from specific outlets, and the run-offs from other charities but this year, because it is New Jersey, where Hurricane Sandy has already cut into stores of toys meant for Christmas, this group has received nothing. Normal avenues — like the Sheriff’s Department and even a famous toy store — have come up empty. There is too much need, not enough to go around, and this group is afraid they will have to cancel their Christmas party (“a Hot-Chocolate-and-Toy Giveaway”), because how can you have a Christmas party — even a modest one — for kids (toddlers to around age 14) and have no gifts?

I got a phone call this morning asking for prayers and also asking me if I knew anyone who could help. Well, I don’t know anyone in New Jersey but our dear Summit Dominicans, who immediately put out feelers and hit the kneelers for the cause, but my other ideas hit the wall of “we would love to help but we have no more toys to give”.

So I turned to Blessed PierGiorgio Frassati and Servant of God Dorothy Day; Dorothy because she worked with the poor and cut through bullcrap to do it, and PierGiorgio because who served the poor, especially children, with more joy than PierGiorgio, and the man loved a good party (he’s our own Beato wearing a party hat!). I have asked them to intercede.

And then I realized, I don’t know anyone in New Jersey, but I know you. I know all of you wonderful folks, who are always so generous when you hear of a need. I’ve been debating all day with myself as to whether I should put the arm on you for toys for these kids — Amazon Prime has two-day delivery — so we can save the party, which is scheduled for Monday, Christmas Eve, and give these kids something from Saint Nicholas!

I’ve been writing, repeatedly, these past few months that we need to be the change we want to see in the world. This is an opportunity to do exactly that. I’m taking it, and will put my money where my mouth is! If you agree with me that the best way to change the world is to be the change, please consider donating a small toy?

When I asked what sorts of toys were needed I was told, “everything” — dolls, cars, trucks, costumes, puzzles, games, curiosities, crafts, everything. They serve toddlers to teens. So I am going to slip into Amazon right now and spend the last of my Christmas money — and do it happily, because I have hardly any kids to buy for, and I’m kind of dying to give that Play-Doh dentistry thing to someone! If you have a little leftover cash and can share it, please know the people at this Family Success Center will be undyingly grateful for the help.

And as we know, God is never, never outdone in generosity!

UPDATE: Please see This follow up. The Family Success Center is very grateful — the scriptural phrase “a good measure and overflowing” comes to mind. I will hopefully have a few pics on Monday!

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About Elizabeth Scalia