At the event, which is put on by the Roswell-based Children’s Restoration Network, organizers aim to present 2,700 homeless children in 19 metro Atlanta counties with six Christmas gifts each. The 18th annual event is seeking volunteers to assist with its “Wrap Party” from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 19 to Dec. 22 at 2600 Prado Lane near Town Center Mall.
“We’re going to bring all the gifts we have collected to the old Bally Fitness, and we’re going to sort them out based on gender age and value,” CRN President Jim Cox said.
Then, the volunteers will take requests made by kids and match them up with available gifts as best they can, volunteer Wyvonne Wintlend said.
“If we don’t have what they are asking for, we do a substitute,” she said.
The gifts are then placed in large bags, resembling what Santa Claus would carry, and taken to 134 shelters.
CRN is collecting new toys, clothes and other gifts at School Box store locations, where donors can also find ornaments with names of gifts that homeless children are looking for. School Box has two Cobb locations, at 50 E. Barrett Parkway and 1205 Johnson Ferry Road. Cox said people who buy gifts at the School Box also get 20 percent off their entire order there.
Organizers note that many older kids, ages 13 to 18, prefer clothing as a gift with sizes large to triple-XL in particular demand. They are also seeking shoe sizes 8 to 13.
In addition, some children would like gift cards to Target, Old Navy, Walmart, iTunes and other retailers.
Of the shelters benefiting from the “12 Days of Caring,” five in Cobb serve around 150 children, Cox said.
The Wrap Party is open to the entire family. Cox said the event also serves as a great opportunity for children of volunteers to learn about kids less fortunate than them.
“These kids come from families with domestic violence problems or neglect or abuse problems,” Cox said of the homeless children. “So the Christmas they spend in the shelter may be the best Christmas they have.”
Helping the children is why Wintlend has volunteered with CRN for six years.
“Just think of a child on Christmas morning not having anything,” she said. “The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy for children. “It’s important to me that the children wake up on Christmas and have gifts also.”
For information on volunteering, call Cox at (770) 649-7117.