Elaborate balloon sculptures, candy canes and loads of festive décor decked the halls last week, as nearly 150 homeless girls and boys from eight different NYC shelters made their way into our magical Kids’ Holiday Carnival. Iron Man, Superman, graffiti artists from Xmental Inc. and counselors from Camp Homeward Bound were there to greet them with games, puzzles, crafts, and even a hula hooping contest!
After a delicious lunch and a surprise make-your-own sundae dessert, the children were greeted by a special visit from Santa Claus himself, who spent a few minutes to chat with each child and snap a special photo for their homemade frames. The afternoon wrapped up with face painting, more games and an epic dance party with the big guy in red. As the kids bundled up tight in their warm winter gear and prepared to return to the shelter, each child left with two gifts, a gift bag full of goodies and a special present to give a loved one.
The Kids’ Holiday Carnival, co-hosted by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), is one of the highlights of our annual Holiday Toy Drive. For the past month, staff and volunteers from our youth programs and corporations such as MWWPR, Bank of America, the Huffington Post have been working to collect, sort and wrap thousands of games, dolls, action figures and more that will be given directly to homeless girls and boys in all five boroughs. These children are just a few of the 24,000 kids from 16,000 families that will spend this holiday season in NYC homeless shelters. We believe that every child deserves to experience the magic of the holidays and thanks to you, we’ve collected more than 5,000 scooters, craft kits, stuffed animals and other wonderful toys for homeless children all over the city.
We want to extend a special thank you to our partners and sponsors including UFT, MWWPR, Edelman, JCC Manhattan, the Alberts Apartments, Bank of America, W2O Group, Missy, Farren and Associates (MFA), Huffington Post, Americas Executions LLC, Analytics Partners, EDC NYC, Learn to Serve, Ipsos, Information Builders and Christy Burke and friends for helping us make this year’s Toy Drive so successful.
Also, thank you to each and every person and group who bought a toy or two from our Amazon wish list, or held your own Toy Drive at your school or workplace. We truly appreciate your help in making the holidays a little brighter for thousands of homeless children in New York City.
PS- If you haven’t already helped share a little holiday joy, please consider making a one-time donation to the Holiday Toy Drive.