Local News

Durham agency flooded with gifts to meet last-minute need

Posted December 22, 2010

— Area residents deluged the Durham County Department of Social Services with gifts Wednesday after hearing that the agency wouldn't be able to provide gifts for hundreds of families.

A local church had committed to providing toys and gifts for about 300 Durham families that had signed up with DSS for the "Share Your Christmas" program, but the church backed out of the deal Tuesday.

"I was really depressed," said Carol Hunt, a community initiative supervisor for DSS.

After WRAL News reported on the situation late Tuesday, Hunt said phone messages started piling up for her.

"We've had so many people calling, saying, 'What do you need? What can i do?' We've had people stopping by and bringing gifts," she said.

Although the agency won't have a final total until after Christmas, officials said they received more than $10,000 in monetary and gift card donations. They are tracking everything that comes in and who gets it.

Resident Kerrie Frederick said she couldn't stand for children to go without gifts.

"It pretty much broke my heart," Frederick said as she dropped off a donation on Wednesday.

Holiday gifts Durham agency flooded with gifts to meet last-minute need

The Durham Police Department raised hundreds of dollars and also got donations from several stores.

"Certainly, it's very fulfilling, very satisfying, very heartwarming," police Capt. Anthony Marsh said.

Hunt said the late flood of toys, gift cards and other presents mean DSS will be able to help about 1,600 families this Christmas.

Christina Harris, who feared her four children would have a Christmas without presents, said she was so touched by people's generosity to the DSS program that she plans to repay the favor and help someone else in need in the future.

"I was really speechless because I didn't know that (my children) were going to be able to get those things," Harris said, noting that each of her children will get a bicycle for Christmas. "I was just speechless and thankful and grateful."


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  • ggw Dec 23, 2010

    I want to know which church "backed out" of the deal with Durham DSS.

  • jeggie654 Dec 23, 2010

    I am so happy that there are so many loving and caring people in NC. I love this state! WE CARE!

  • edbuck51 Dec 23, 2010

    I am impressed by the lady wanting to pay back so others will have when they need it

  • antb Dec 23, 2010

    Great story! Way to step up people!

  • luvbailey Dec 23, 2010

    "The story said that she was laid off. Test your preconceived notions to see why you assume that she's just having babies so that she can take advantage of the "system". That's the kind of thinking that leads to people believing that the poor should just be forbidden from having families." - bunnygang1

    I never said or even meant to imply that this person is having babies to take advantage of the system, nor do I assume that this is the case for anyone. Nor do I believe that poor people should be kept from having babies. So don't accuse me of having assumed something, when you are doing the same thing about me.

    With that said, to me, imho, it is totally irresponsible for any person, single or married, to continue to have babies when they have to rely on social services for support.

  • just my2cents Dec 23, 2010

    Wonderful story. Christmas spirit is at work in Durham. These kids deserve gifts just like all others. SOme parnets milk the system, but otehrs don't. The kids should not suffer. If we would just stop to offer a hand up, this world would be a better place. Christmas is about giving, caring, sharing and loving one another, but ultimately it is about The Gift God gave us.

  • umop apisdn Dec 23, 2010

    "Thanks for taking a quote from my statement out of context."

    You're welcome. Seriously though, you can teach your kids the value of a dollar at any other time. I always received gifts at xmas and I don't take anything for granted. I understood your point I just don't agree with it, there's a time and place for everything, including life lessons.

  • issymayake Dec 23, 2010

    Feels great to be a Durhmite right now.

  • PhotoJ Dec 23, 2010

    I am glad that this shortfal was resolved, saddened by the narrow-minded bickering that goes on in GoLo around a story such as this, and wish to remind everyone that there are 11 more month in each year that we all could be performing benevolent act for others, overtly or anonymously.

  • Hater like Darth Vader Dec 23, 2010

    Thanks for taking a quote from my statement out of context. I said that if they get a full grasp of what childhood is like as a poor person then they will be more likely to work harder for their children's future.