SCHENECTADY — Thousands of local children in need will receive a helping hand this holiday season thanks to the Things of My Very Own wish tag program.
The Schenectady non-profit organization is currently collecting donations for the annual initiative, which allows families in need fill out holiday wish lists that are fulfilled by members of the community.
Things of My Very Own founder Rayn Boncie said the program typically serves 4,000 children each year in the Capital Region.
“What we do is that children and adults come in and they write out wish tags which state what they want/and or need for the holidays,” she explained. “The wish tags go out in the community and members of the general public can go pick up wish tags, shop for the child and then bring them back to us.”
Those interested in picking up completed wish tags can get them at various locations, including the Slice of Glenville pizza shop and Capitol District Supply and Gershon’s Deli in Schenectady.
Niskayuna is also collecting donations for the program at its Town Hall.
“This is our third season we’ve done this and people will call me in October and ask if the tags are going to be here,” Niskayuna Coordinator of Community Programs Lori Peretti said. “They’re just a wonderful organization.”
The first wave of tags focused on urgent needs were due on Nov. 26, with the second and third wave of tags due on Dec. 3 and 10 respectively.
While Niskayuna collections end on Dec. 3, the tags can be dropped off through Dec. 10 at the Things of My Very Own office at 249 Green St. in Schenectady.
“I highly recommend that because to be in that atmosphere when it’s buzzing makes you feel so good,” Peretti said of the Schenectady office.
Niskauyna is also offering to email wish tags to residents who hope to donate to the program but won’t be able to pick up a tag in person by contacting [email protected].
Donations for the program can also be made at thingsofmyveryown.org.
The family wish lists are anonymous, with one local family asking for underwear and socks for a 9-year-old boy, with board games and a science kit listed as holiday wishes.
Boncie, who serves as executive director of the charity organization, said the program has been running for the past decade.
“It’s important because a lot of the children that we work with have gone through extensive abuse and neglect or even abandonment,” she said. “So they already struggle with feeling alone in the world. So not only does this program show them that someone in the community is standing by them, but it also helps to avoid unnecessary Childhood Protective Services interventions. Because not only is it providing toys and fun items, but it’s providing things they need like blankets and winter coats to stay warm.”