What Does the SaintA Toy Drive Mean to You?

Initially a grassroots effort by SaintA child welfare staff who wanted to make the holidays a little brighter for the kids they worked with, our Toy Drive continues to grow. Our goal this year is to collect 2,000 toys to ensure every child we have in foster care gets a new gift this year.

We thought we’d take a moment out of our case managers’ busy lives (and yours) and share some of the sentiments about why this toy drive is so important. Enjoy – and if you can, please donate a toy or gift card.

Kimberlea Warren
Ongoing Case Manager
“I remember a family where the grandmother was the caregiver and she was so happy to be able to provide the kids with toys.”
Suby Mathew
Ongoing Case Manager
“It’s always the look on their faces that tell us how much they love the gifts they get at the Holidays.”

I helped Grandma play Santa.
Kimberlea Warren

Child wrapped up in blanket at mother's side

I was working with a group of siblings who lived with their maternal grandmother. She was concerned about being able to pay for toys for not one, and not two, but three kids in her care. Although the grandmother had found assistance from church and other charities, many of the gifts were too young for her kids’ ages. That’s when I signed the family up for the SaintA Toy Drive.

When I delivered the toys, which were already wrapped, to the grandmother, she was so excited! She cried and hugged me and said the best thing ever, “I get to play Santa this year!”

Given the financial struggles of this family and knowing even just a few toys were enough to bring joy to these siblings, the toy drive was really just perfect for them. The grandmother’s line about playing Santa has always stayed with me, even after I was able to discharge the family successfully because they obtained guardianship with the grandmother.

When I did my visit that January, the children were so excited to show me their gifts from “Santa” and the grandmother just smiled from ear to ear.

A boy and his bear.
Suby Mathew

boy running with teddy bear in hand

Last year, I was working with a couple of different families – one with a little boy, age 2 and another with a little girl, age 3.

In both cases, the kids had been reunified with their mothers but still under my supervision. Like most parents, these moms wanted to buy their kids things but could only afford small items. Having an actual gift to unwrap and open was a big treat for these children!

I took the gifts to my December home visits so the moms would have them for the kids to open on Christmas morning. But this little boy was so excited that his mom let him open his gift right away. He tore open his gift and took a few steps back to take it all in. He looked at it and then he looked at his mom and me in disbelief, as if he was thinking, “Is this really for me?” It was a brand-new teddy bear! Since then, he has taken the teddy bear everywhere and has even taken to feeding the bear with his bottle and putting a diaper on the bear when his mom’s not looking.

The little 3-year-old girl received a blanket last year and in similar fashion, takes it with her everywhere. She won’t let her siblings touch her blanket because it’s hers and they got their own gifts (also from the SaintA Toy Drive) to play with anyway.

Both the teddy bear and the blanket are starting to show some definite wear, so I’m really looking forward to giving them both a new gift this year. The Toy Drive is such a wonderful thing. A lot of families don’t have much money for gifts, so these are truly the only toys these kids receive.


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