BLUFFTON, Sc. (WSAV) – Holiday Hope is giving thousands of kids across the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry presents to wake up to Christmas morning. Bluffton Self Help opened their toy shop for registered parents Saturday and it’s overflowing with gifts thanks to community donations.
“Christmas is a very special time in a child’s life, anybody out there who has children knows that. Christmas can be really magical, but it can also be really sad,” said Kimberly Hall, Bluffton Self Help’s executive director.
It’s an expensive time of year, especially for those who don’t have much.
“These are people sitting next to you, or sitting next to your children in class,” Hall said, “These are your neighbors. These are people that are in need and it’s hard to define hardship.”
But in the Lowcountry, it’s not hard to define community. Hall said there are about 500 businesses that donate through the Holiday Hope program and thousands of locals who drop off toys, bikes, clothes, and food, “just out of the generosity of their heart,” she said.
Donna DellaRosa is a volunteer with the organization. “I’ve never lived anywhere where the generosity has been so strong in the community,” she said, “From giving food, giving clothing, the toys… whenever we ask, this community responds.”
While most of the families registered for their toy shop live in Bluffton, Holiday Hope partners stretch across counties.
“We want to make sure that every child has a toy to open on Christmas morning and that’s really, really important to us,” Hall said.
This toy shop alone will give Christmas to 1,200 kids.
Not only that, but each family will get a board game. Hall said, “We talk to them about ‘Go home and play games with your children, ya know, turn off your cell phone, turn off the TV and lets have some fun and talk to your kids.”
DellaRosa remembers the first time she volunteered to help with the toy shop, “I had tears in my eyes to watch mom and dad come through, and have their, dignity,” she said, “They could shop for whatever they wanted for their child and not just get a bag of toys.”
Hall adds that it’s not just about Christmas, “It’s about giving back to our Bluffton families… that they know that the community is here to support them.”
And it’s never too late to give. You can drop off toy donations at a Walmart location in Bluffton, Hardeeville, and Savannah, or stop by Bluffton Self Help. They also take monetary donations. You can call them at 843-757-8000.