Christmas charities already working to find sponsors for needy children

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet but when it comes to Christmas charities, the holidays are already in full swing. Charities in the Kanawha Valley work together through the Christmas Bureau this time of year to make sure all kids in need have something under the Christmas tree.

The Christmas Bureau works in Boone, Putnam and Kanawha counties to provide toys and food collaborating with various charities to make sure there is no duplication of services. The deadline was last Friday and this week charities are jumping into action to meet the need.

“Every donation will go toward a toy that is on a kid’s wish list that they are going to be so excited to see under their tree this Christmas,” said Secret Santa volunteer Emma Blatt. She started out donating to the charity as part of a family tradition but this year she’s working hands on. Her official title is Head Elf. “It is so much fun to go out and help these kids get the Christmas that they want to have. It is super fun.”

One change the group has noticed since the pandemic is that more donors are giving money instead of actual toys. That is where volunteers like Blatt come in, going out and buying the toys. The Secret Santa program is one of several non-profits partnering with the Christmas Bureau.

“Now the Christmas Bureau is processing those applications and they’ll be sending us more children as they process them,” said Jeanne Jarrett, Vice President of the Secret Santa Foundation. “I can’t really say if we are up or down at this point. But we do know that we have already sponsored 600 children and we expect a lot more.”

The Salvation Army is a partner too. So far this year they have 850 children looking for sponsors on their Angel Trees.

“Those are real children in real need in our community,” explained Jayne May, Area Commander, Christmas Director for the Salvation Army. “Even if you can’t afford to take an angel pray for them that their families would find some hope, some peace and some financial stability.”

Both groups say it is too early to know if there will be enough donors to meet the need this year. But they say people always find a way.

“Donors always show up,” May said. “We have such great people in the community. I know on the news and on Facebook and places like that we see a lot of bad things. I’m telling you the good always outweighs the bad.”

The Salvation Army’s Angel Trees will not be at the Charleston Town Center this year. They will be at area Walmarts and Burkes Outlet. To donate to the Secret Santa program you can call 304-344-TOYS.

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