While the holidays seem to bring out the kid in people of all ages, the wide-eyed wonder and magic still belong to the little ones this time of year. Sadly, many families lack the financial resources to buy gifts — and sometimes even necessities like winter coats and shoes. Goodwill agencies like those below have stepped in to spread a little joy and warmth to those who need it most.
Shoes in Sioux City
For the past 71 years, Goodwill Industries Wall Street Mission (Sioux City, IA) has held an annual shoes, socks and mitten party to ward off the chill. John Hantla, president of the Sioux City Goodwill, said that while most kids are dreaming of toys and games, many children lack the basics. “Some kids come in with holes in their shoes,” he added.
More than 3,000 kids in need were invited to receive a new pair of shoes, socks and mittens. This year, Goodwill raised enough money from the community to buy about 1,400 pairs. Dozens of volunteers came out to help with the event, including high school students, law enforcement officers and Boy Scouts.
Coats on the Coast
Earlier in December, Goodwill Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast (Mobile, AL) donated 200 winter coats to 15 Place, a day shelter that combats homelessness by providing an array of services from hot meals and showers to computer, telephone and mail privileges. Coats for adults and children were donated to Goodwill Easter Seals through its regular donation stream, and then passed along to 15 Place. The decade-long partnership is just one more way Goodwill works toward its goal of building stronger families and communities along the Gulf Coast.
Bright Smiles for Bicycles
“Santa Wheels,” a program of Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA (Macon), once again brought bicycles and smiles to 175 children in the area. Since October, six Goodwill program participants have been reconditioning and repairing donated used bicycles — and in the process, earning a paycheck and learning valuable job skills.
Jim Stiff, the Macon Goodwill’s CEO, said the program wouldn’t be a success without community partners Master Buick GMC, Master Chevrolet Cadillac, Andy Jordan’s Bicycle Warehouse and Safe Kids East Central. The bicycles were distributed at a “bike rodeo” on December 13 at Master Buick GMC. Children were selected via an application process conducted by Goodwill’s Job Connections, the job training and placement arm for Goodwill Industries. Safe Kids East Central donated a helmet and safety skills training to all who receive a refurbished bike.