Charities taking gift-giving precautions

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Local charities are taking precautions when giving out gifts this holiday because of an incident that happened over the summer.

Officials at the Warren Family Mission said they changed their policy after the incident with James Hillard. The mission donated a tricycle to Hillard’s daughter, but hours later he was trying to sell the bike on Facebook. Officials said they have a gift contract now in place, especially for big ticket items such as bicycles, stating the clients will not sell or trade the bike. The mission gave away 12 bikes during its annual Christmas dinner on Tuesday.

“The child’s name will actually be engraved on the bikes so they cannot give it away or try and sell it. We feel with some of the bigger items that people are getting, we will try stopping them from doing that,” Cheryl Parsons with the Warren Family Mission said.

The mission gave toys to over 700 families this year.

“There is so many gracious people out there that donate, even a lot of people that don’t have a lot of money, they will buy that one toy hoping that child gets it and that is our objective, to make sure that child gets that toy,” Parsons said.

Parsons said one person tried to sell the toys they received online and now has been banned from the mission.

“That parent has to be responsible for what they did. We do as much as we can here. We mark the bar codes off and do all that kind of stuff, so one person, I can deal with,” Parsons said.

At the Salvation Army, they too have seen things they have given away end up online. People we talked to who rely on donations to give their children something under the tree said it is despicable.

“This is for the children. You know, I don’t think anybody should get help from an agency and turn around and sell it. That is just not right,” Olivia Hudson of Warren said.

The Warren Salvation Army gave away a gymnasium full of toys this Christmas to the less fortunate. Kathleen Kalcic of Warren said there are a lot of people that can’t afford Chirstmas.

“We are very fortunate to have this program. Without it, a lot of kids would go hungry and without presents,” Kalcic said.

This year, the Warren Family Mission and the Salvation Army teamed up to make sure that people who went to one toy drive did not go to the other and double dip.

“We do our best to screen people, but you can’t prevent all of that. We just have to do the best we can do and let God handle the rest,” Capt. Dianna Morales of the Warren Salvation Army said.

Also on Tuesday at the Warren Family Mission, 2,000 people were fed at the annual Christmas dinner. The Elm Road facility was packed with diners and food.

On the menu was a traditional ham and potatoes dinner, and plenty of side dishes as well. Besides those who ate at the mission, volunteers also delivered meals to people who are living in area high rises.

“The need is really big and it’s not people that are not working. It’s a lot of the working class people and we see it every day, that the minimum wage just does not make ends meet,” Parsons said.

The mission will host a Christmas Day brunch this year and send everybody home with a meal so they can have Christmas dinner at home with their family.

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