Hoping to make sure that every child can feel the joy of opening a special package this holiday season, Westchester County’s Department of Social Services (DSS) is once again organizing a gift drive for local youngsters living in a foster home or residential center.
“Westchester residents are always generous during the holiday season” said County Executive Rob Astorino. “I know this year’s toy drive will be as successful as those in the past.”
New and unwrapped gifts are being sought for more than 800 children, infants to age 21, who don’t have parents to present them with packages for the holidays. Collection boxes open to the public will be placed in county offices from Nov. 15 through Dec. 15. WFAS radio is helping publicize the drive and will also offer collection boxes.
Because more than half the youngsters are teenagers (who appreciate the ability to make their own choices), the donation of gift cards is also encouraged.
“For many of these kids, a donation from a stranger may be the only gift they get,” said Barbara Sabater, the gift drive’s coordinator. “That one additional toy or gift you purchase while doing your own family’s shopping is guaranteed to bring a smile to a child’s face.”
Sabater noted this was the eighth year for the drive. Because of the community’s generosity, the department has been able to extend the gift-giving to a great number of children who are at high risk of entering foster care and those living in shelters with their families.
Unwrapped gifts can be brought to seven locations throughout the county. Donors can also “sponsor” a child by getting a wish list through DSS and filling a specific request. A cash donation or contribution in kind from merchants will also be accepted, as will gift bags to help with the wrapping.
Anyone wanting to sponsor a specific child or make a cash or bulk donation should contact Barbara Sabater, program administrator with the Department of Social Services, at (914) 995-5545 or e-mail her at [email protected] You may also contact Matthew McCarrick, public administration intern with the Department of Social Services, at (914) 995-4979 or e-mail him at [email protected].
A holiday collection bin is located on the first floor of the County Office Building at 148 Martine Avenue in White Plains. There are also collection locations at the following sites: • 112 East Post Road, White Plains, 5th Floor • 85 Court Street, White Plains • 131 Warburton Ave., Yonkers • 750 Washington Avenue, Peekskill • 100 East 1st Avenue, Mount Vernon • One Stop Employment Center- 120 Bloomingdale Rd., White Plains • WFAS radio, 365 Secor Rd., Hartsdale