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GRACE Toy Drive to Benefit Local Children

GRACE Toy Drive to Benefit Local Children

Everyone needs a little help at times. Young or old, wealthy or poor, we all experience emergencies in our lifetimes when we could use a helping hand. In Tarrant County, this hand often comes from GRACE. Organized in 1987 to fulfill a growing need for emergency assistance resources, GRACE continues to assist those in need by coordinating community resources. Bringing food, clothing and other necessities to people facing natural disasters or economic setbacks, GRACE provides a framework in which to pull the community together.

Every year over 1,600 children receive assistance through the GRACE Christmas Cottage. Parents have the opportunity to select toys and gifts for their children at the Cottage. In order for the program to succeed, the GRACE toy drive needs help. It takes over 450 volunteers to set up and operate the store through the season. It also takes over 1600 toys, books and gifts. Here are some of the other facts you need in order to help:

Donations should be unwrapped

In this way, the parents can select appropriate gifts for their children and the GRACE volunteers can manage the merchandise.

Items in short supply

Teen-appropriate gifts such as DVD’s and CD’s, movie tickets and gift cards run out quickly, as do family gifts such as small appliances.

Wal-Mart connection

The Wal-Mart at 1601 West Hwy 114 in Grapevine, displays trees with bells identifying items for which there is a specific need. Customers can select the bells and pay for the items as they check out and GRACE toy drive volunteers will pick up the items for the Cottage.

Local business involvement

The employees of local establishments can request bells so that they can shop for the items requested. In this way, the employees can work together to assist those in need and the client families can receive gifts specific to them.

In 2013, GRACE has interviewed about 25 percent more families in distress than last year. This means that the devastation of the economic downturn continues and the number of working poor in the area has dramatically increased. In order to meet their needs, the GRACE toy drive must escalate its efforts and generate even more donations. It is particularly important to try to broaden the eligibility guidelines in order to capture those families who may not be able to qualify for public assistance. It is also important to note that while the GRACE toy drive helps families celebrate the season with joy and dignity, their needs to not end there. GRACE also accepts donations to provide food and other basic requirements to these families. The Holiday Food Program provides turkey, fruits, vegetables and staples for at least four meals.

From now through December 15, 2013, Whole Earth Provision Co. is accepting donations of toys and children’s books at Southlake Town Square across from the post office. For each item valued at over $10, Whole Earth will give the donor a $5 gift certificate. Through the generosity of this retailer, not only will people receive the help they need, but those that give will also receive a reward.

GRACE provides a number of ideas as to how individuals, churches, and other organizations can help. However, there is no limitation on giving! Fundraisers like bake sales, food drives, and wish list trees all help the cause. Spanish speaking volunteers are sparse and very much in need. The Christmas Cottage goes through about six dozen cookies every day. Even after the Christmas Cottage closes for the season, the store will need volunteers to help with cleanup and storage. Won’t you lend a hand?