The holidays are an especially fun time if you have children. But, there are tons of kids out there in need who won't be making huge lists for Santa or getting to eat all the cookies and candy they want. If you need some inspiration to start your giving this season, just read this 10-year-old boy's Christmas wish for school snacks. It will break your heart and make you want to dive straight into donation mode.
The note was shared by Things Of My Very Own, an organization based in upstate New York that provides "crisis intervention" for kids who are neglected or abused at home. Each holiday season, they approach local businesses about setting up a Christmas tree. On each tree, they hang "ornaments" or tags with an anonymous Christmas wish from the kids.
The idea is that customers pull a tag from the tree, go shopping based on the "wish," and then bring the package back to the business so that Things Of My Very Own can pick them up and distribute them based on an ID number on the tag. It's a much more personal way to do a toy drive, since each kid is actually getting something that they asked for personally instead of random toys, clothes, and treats. All gifts are good, but things you really want are so much better. Which is exactly why this kid's wish for school snacks is so powerful.
The tag read, "I’m a 10-year-old boy. I want school snacks so I’m not the only one not eating at snack time at school. I wear size 12 and I like Pokemon.” You have to hand it to the kid to asking for some Pokémon swag, too, but the fact that his main wish was to have some snacks to eat in class is totally heartbreaking. Can we get him all the snacks?
Rayn Boncie of Things Of My Very Own told Babble that since his tag went viral, there have been people contacting them from literally all over the world donating snacks and funds to their organization. She added:
A woman from Switzerland contacted Visco’s [the pizzeria where his tag was found] and purchased $500 worth of pizza for the children we serve. In addition to donations, we would love it if people from around the world would send postcards with messages of hope printed on them. It would be so amazing for these children to see just how many people believe in them.
According to Feeding America, there are 41 million households in the United States that suffer from food insecurity and 13 million of them are households with children — that's one in six kids, if you need a visual. What's so terrifying about food insecurity is that, according to USDA data, 26 percent of food insecure families make too much money to apply or qualify for food benefit programs. So they're working to provide for their families, but some things, like a school snack, have to be sacrificed.
It's the same for free or reduced meals: If a household's income is just over the limit, they have to pay for lunches and snacks. Schools can also choose to deny free meals under federal guidelines. So, kids like this 10-year-old are often left to depend on charity.
If you want to help out this season, you can donate to Things Of My Very Own, or organizations just like it. There are also other charities you can donate to or support this season if you're worried about filling a kid's belly for the season.
You can find your local food bank on the Feeding America website and donate, or donate to food and money to organizations like Covenant House, which serves homeless youth, or the Ali Forney Center which helps LGBT homeless youth. There are always national toy drives like Toys for Tots and Stockings With Care you can support or start your own holiday giving tree program in your community. Because no kid should go hungry during the holidays, or ever.
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