Local charities rushing to meet holiday demand

Local charities are busy collecting donations during the holidays.

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Organizers of the Brighten Up for the Kids Toy Drive are hoping that they will be able to meet holiday demand. With a shortage of toys this year, they hope to meet their goal before Christmas.

“We are a little bit behind this year. We are at 1,100 toys, and our goal is to hit 2,500,” said organizer Megan Stevens.

It is the sixth year Stevens has been collecting toys, which are handed out at Akron Children’s Hospital for children who are hospitalized over the holidays. Last year, her collection helped put smiles on kids faces on Christmas, as well as throughout the year.

“I want to come through for them. I want to be sure to make sure the kids get what they need, so I’m crossing my fingers,” she said.

Her collection ends Tuesday at Youngstown Cycle Supply on Market Street, where toys are being dropped off during normal business hours.

Doug Gough, executive director of the Big Reach Center of Hope in Greenford, said he is seeing an increased need for holiday help. On Thursday night, the center fed 250 families and gave something to each child.

The Big Reach Center of Hope provides resources and opportunities to low-income individuals and families, with a focus on the Mahoning Valley and surrounding communities. The center’s goal is move those in need toward self-sufficiency through education and training.

“We’re averaging 30 families that are brand new to the center every week, so the need is great,” Gough said.

The Way Station is also helping more than 500 people with gifts and food through its food pantry this holiday season, between its locations in Columbiana and East Liverpool. Its Christmas gifts are ready to be handed out this weekend, and supply has met demand.

“I think people just like to give this time of year,” said Director Carla Sukosd. “We’re in an area where we’re surrounded by some families that may have a little bit more than others, and so they want to give and they want to bless.”

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