Many children look forward to Christmas and the surprises that come with it, while others fear that their friends at school will ask them what they got.
“I don’t care what people say, kids judge, they’re critical,” said Sandy, a participant in the SOS Christmas program who is raising her grandchildren (her name has been changed to protect her identity). Sandy said that while some children are given neat toys or gifts, others may receive rain or snow gear. “It can be difficult for children. So if the SOS Christmas program allows children to have a nice gift, in addition to a snowsuit that mom and dad can now buy, then it is a program of necessity.
Sandy said the SOS Christmas program allowed her to give her grandsons the two gifts they wanted, which allowed her to spend some of her money on clothes and other items including they need. She said she knew of other families who were also unable to afford gifts and basic necessities.
The SOS Caring for the Community at Christmas program has been providing special gifts for children and youth, as well as grocery gift cards for families and individuals, for over 50 years.
Angie entered the Christmas program last year and said it made a big difference for her teenage son. She said the program allowed her to get her 13-year-old what he really wanted, as well as a few smaller items.
“I was able to get Best Buy gift cards to buy him a headset for the games he loved. Without it, I would never have been able to afford these things.
Angie said many families struggle to choose between shopping for groceries and giving gifts to their children. It’s a huge relief to access the SOS Christmas program and not have to worry so much, she said, contributing to the emotional well-being of local families during the holidays.
If you are a local resident who needs extra support this Christmas, call SOS at 250-248-2093. To support the program, make a financial donation online at www.sosd69.com, call 250-248-2093, or drop by the SOS Community Service Center in Parksville during office hours.
To help stock the SOS Toy Store, attend a local event that benefits the program, locate an SOS Angel Tree at a participating business, or drop by the Christmas Tent at the SOS Community Service Center in Parksville during certain hours. SOS often runs out of gifts for teens and tweens in the toy store. Some suggestions include hoodies, blankets, clothing store gift certificates, restaurant gift certificates, hygiene kits, Bluetooth speakers, and headphones. Visit the SOS website for more information.
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