Christmas is almost here, and for many of us that means gathering friends and family around the table for a home cooked meal.
For some in our area, Christmas can be very expensive.
So, on Christmas Day, Northcott Neighborhood House will become its own Santa’s Workshop. Volunteers will be handing out dinners and gifts for kids.
“Last year we provided a thousand meals and 4,500 toys,” says Tony Kearney, Northcott’s executive director. “Our goal is to exceed that.”
To make sure they don’t run out, Kearney and his staff have been gathering toys for weeks. They won’t get to see kids open their presents, but Director of Operations Elizabeth Coggs says she loves seeing kids pick out a wrapped package.
“Their faces light up and they smile,” she says. “So all these months of preparation is well worth it.”
Kearney says a giveaway like this isn’t just a gift for children. It’s for the whole family, especially mom and dad.
“With our current situation with the economy, we don’t want parents to be worried about ‘can I buy my child a gift, can I make a meal.’”
Kearney says when there’s stress like that in the house, everyone feels it.
“What we are trying to do here is to have parents relax, take the stress off don’t worry,” Kearney says. “Pay your rent. Get the gifts from us.”
Even if you’re not receiving from Northcott this Christmas, there are still plenty of ways to get into the holiday spirit.
“Our volunteers make this work,” says Kearney.
Volunteers have been wrapping gifts since the beginning of December. Northcott can also always use people to help pass out food and gifts on Christmas.
“It’s just a blessing, you know what I mean?” says Coggs. “It’s a blessing to be a blessing.”
“We need your time, we need your help and it does help this community,” Kearney adds.
Because at the end of the day, that’s what these giveaways – and Northcott – are all about: community.
“We’re going to continue to do every single thing that we can to serve the community,” Kearney says. “And these events bring people together and give us an opportunity to dialogue.”
If you’re hoping to pick up a meal and some gifts from Northcott Neighborhood House, the giveaway starts at 8 a.m. on Christmas Day and runs until noon.