For the past few years, my kids and I have been volunteering at Community Teamworks, a wonderful nonprofit that provides shelter to hundreds of homeless families throughout Massachusetts. Although Community Teamworks does an extraordinary job providing critical services and support to thousands in need throughout the commonwealth, there is no budget for Christmas presents for the many children living in its shelters.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to see any child waking up Christmas morning without a present under the tree.
Starting today, my son, his friend and I are kicking off a big holiday toy drive for 200 children living in homeless and domestic violence shelters throughout Massachusetts. The Scattered Sites Transitional Apartment Program has 44 kids in its shelters who will be included in this year’s holiday toy drive. SSTAP offers a safe haven to victims of domestic violence. Women and children may live in these apartments for up to 24 months while receiving services to help them locate safe, permanent housing.
Please consider donating a new, unwrapped toy or age-appropriate gift for a deserving child ages infant to teen. Your gift will go miles in warming the hearts of so many in need this holiday season.
Volunteers will wrap the presents and work with Community Teamwork’s caring staff to make sure that the kids wake up Christmas morning with a nicely wrapped present under the tree with their name on it — so they know Santa didn’t forget about them.
In addition to organizing the toy drive, my family and I will go on a shopping blitz for the homeless families and personally deliver dozens of toys, gifts and other essential items for the families in need. In previous years, we’ve worked with generous members of the community and dropped off hundreds of gifts, books, hats, mittens, scarves, clothing, diapers and many other needed items.
I’m a strong believer in the golden rule: “Treat others how you’d want to be treated.” If you fell upon hard times, living in a homeless or domestic violence shelter, would you want your heart crushed seeing your kids wake up Christmas morning without presents under the tree? No, you wouldn’t. And that’s why together we can make a difference in the lives of others this holiday season.
Gifts can be sent directly to Community Teamworks Attn: Kimberly Gleason, Director, 155 Merrimack Street, 2nd floor, Lowell MA 01852.
Thank you to all the generous and loving “elves” out there. Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season!
Adriana Cohen is Co-Host of “Herald Drive” airing 6-9 a.m. weekdays on Boston Herald Radio. Follow her on Twitter @AdrianaCohen16.