In the Before Times, donating to a toy drive was usually as simple as dropping a gift in a large cardboard bin on your way into the office. Or, maybe you took one to the corporate holiday party. With nearly everyone working from home, though, donating toys can be more of a challenge this year.
“Normally we receive hundreds of toys and gifts for the children in our community programs during the holidays season,” says Chaundra Luckett, chief marketing officer of CHRIS 180, an Atlanta-based social services organization. “Most corporate holiday celebrations and fundraisers have been cancelled because of the pandemic. Without that support, many nonprofits may be forced to come out of pocket to fund Christmas gifts for their clients, and if they can’t take on the expense they may not be able to help, which is heartbreaking,” she says.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to help ensure that children have gifts this year. Here’s a list of organizations collecting toys in metro Atlanta and how to help them out.
CHRIS 180 is a social services organization that serves children and families through trauma-informed programming, including foster and group homes. There are a couple of ways to help the children they serve receive presents on Christmas Day. One is by purchasing gifts off of this Amazon wish list list, which will be sent to CHRIS 180. Parents will be able to choose among the gifts, and wrap them at a wrapping party. You can also purchase gifts off of this list which are hand chosen by the children living in CHRIS 180’s group homes.
Multi-Agency Alliance for Children
MAAC is raising funds to purchase gifts for the children they serve in foster care. Most of the children have been matched with donors, but they still need help purchasing the rest of the gifts. You can contribute here.
Atlanta Dream Center
Atlanta Dream Center is a Christian organization that, “[rescues] men and women out of sex trafficking and homelessness and preventing vulnerable children from falling victim.” They are collecting presents for the children they work with and distributing them at socially distant gatherings. To help, purchase a gift off of their wishlist and have it sent straight to ADC.
Creating Connected Communities (CCC)
Creating Connected Communities is a leadership program for teens and partners up with several nonprofits around Atlanta. Every year they host “Amy’s Holiday Party” to give presents to children being served by over 40 agencies including homeless shelters, foster-care networks, and refugee centers. This year, the holiday party will be “delivered” directly to children.
CCC has partnered with Misfit Wrapping Co., located on the second floor of Ponce City Market. You can purchase gifts around PCM and have them wrapped by Misfit to be shared with CCC. For gift suggestions, head to the Misfit Wrapping Co. counter and scan the QR code for a wishlist. Items include notepads from Archer’s paper goods, games from Posman Books, and stuffed animals from Sugarboo & Co.
Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots has partnered with several local organizations to collect unwrapped toys. You can find their bins at several Jimmy John’s locations in metro Atlanta, Garnet Gals’s Coffee Shop in Buckhead (do some good and get a free 12-ounce cup of coffee courtesy of Peach Coffee Roasters), and Keller Williams Metro Atlanta in Decatur.
Pride for Parents
Pride for Parents is a program offered by Focused Community Strategies, a religious organization that offers “holistic development” to Historic South Atlanta through mixed-income housing, neighborhood engagement, jobs, and training. Pride for Parents allows residents to purchase gifts at a reduced cost. You can help by donating gifts off of their Amazon and Target wish lists.