Durham Rescue Mission short 1,000 toys for Christmas
Posted December 23, 2013
Updated December 24, 2013
Durham, N.C. — Santa Claus doesn't always wear a red coat and hat. For some children in Durham, he wears a sweater.
“Ho, ho, ho boys and girls. Merry Christmas!” said Ernie Mills, founder of the nonprofit Durham Rescue Mission, as he handed out gifts to residents in the charity's shelter.
Mills plans to hand out more than 10,000 toys to less fortunate children at the mission's annual Christmas event, which began Monday night and starts again at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday.
But some children may arrive to find there is nothing for them.
The charity is short 1,000 toys this year. The shortage is most critical for toys for girls ages 8 to 12.
“We feel like Christmas should be special for everybody - the haves and the have-nots,” Mills said. “When you run out of toys and the kids are there, it’s almost like a dagger in your heart. It hurts.”
The call is out for donations. Meanwhile, Mills tried not to worry as he continued giving out toys Monday.
“This place has saved my life,” said shelter resident Sarah Plattenberger. She and her daughter, 2-year-old Nivea, have been at the shelter nearly a year.
"I never thought I would need donations, and now I am thankful for it,” Plattenberger said.
Mills said the donated toys aren’t just about kids having something to play with.
“Sometimes we lose hope if we feel like nobody loves them,” he said. “This is a time of giving hope out there to those who have no hope.”
To learn how to donate, visit the Durham Rescue Mission's website.