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December 21, 2011 / HandsOnCorps

Toys for Ward 7’s Tots

To spread holiday goodwill, I reached out to two non-profits in the neighborhood where I work to create a gift-giving program for children living in Ward 7 neighborhoods. Children impacted by these non-profits turned in wish lists, telling exactly what toys or clothes they were hoping to receive for the holidays. I loaded all of their wishes onto an Amazon.com wishlist and spread the word to HandsOn Greater DC Cares volunteers and Ward 7 residents that there was an easy way to brighten the holidays for kids in need.

After entering the gifts onto the internet wishlist, I began to check a few times each day to see if any of the items had been purchased. Each day, one or two gifts would migrate into the “purchased” section and the list of unpurchased presents grew a little shorter. But time was beginning to run out. It was a week before the presents needed to be wrapped and distributed to families before the holidays and there were still nearly 60 gifts left to be bought. I began to think of other options – perhaps each child could get just one gift? Maybe we could at least get some gift cards for kids to pick out their own toys? As I left for home Tuesday evening, I checked the wishlist one last time and saw nothing more had been purchased that day. It was beginning to look like some children were not going to get what they had hoped for for Christmas.

Later in the evening, I decided just to peek at the wishlist one more time. I was ready to be disappointed, but thought I might as well see if one or two toys had been purchased as people came home from week. As the page loaded on Amazon.com, I thought there must have been an error. The number of unpurchased items on the wishlist had dropped to seven! I refreshed the page and it was still true – nearly all of the presents for Ward 7 children had been purchased! In the four or five hours since I had last checked, someone or some group of people had purchased nearly 60 gifts. Now, not only would every child get a gift for the holidays, they would get two! And they would get the specific gifts they had requested. HandsOn Greater DC Cares volunteers and Ward 7 residents had created the perfect holiday surprise for Ward 7 kids!

Torey Hollingsworth

HandsOn Corps VISTA, Greater DC Cares

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