Local News

Durham Rescue Mission short 1,000 toys for Christmas

Posted December 23, 2013
Updated December 24, 2013

— 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.


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  • 68_dodge_polara Dec 24, 2013

    They were taking toys around the back of their main facility on Main street. I'm glad they ran this article but yes, they should have included more information about donations. This organization does so much for Durham and they do it very well.

  • Huey Dec 24, 2013

    I know so many poor parents just can't provide like they want to for their kids but also I know that many who could just don't and rely to charities to do it. Whatever, it is always the children who suffer. May Santa visit all that he can tonight.

  • Riddickfield Dec 24, 2013

    Maybe Rev. Barber could do something constructive for a change and use his powers of influence to help out the mission and those less fortunate?

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Dec 24, 2013

    Praying every child's need is met.

    Unfortunately, won't happen unless all the adults in that child's family help too.

  • scubagirl2 Dec 24, 2013

    time to update this story :)

  • Hill55 Dec 24, 2013

    This story is deficient if it is intending to help.

    WHERE do the toys need to be dropped off?

    By what TIME?

    What is the typical 8-12 year toy that works best?

    Come on folks at WRAL, I know you mean well, but really, you missed three basics of writting, where, when and what... The "what" was too vague given the tight timeframe.

  • lisaclark2 Dec 24, 2013

    "Santa Claus doesn't always wear a red coat and hat." None of them do when it comes down to who actually delivers the toys... This makes it sounds like a Santa Claus in a red suit delivers toys to most kids, while very poor kids have to get theirs other ways.