United Way of the CSRA
The Gift of Giving this Christmas
Updated: Dec 28, 2021
Volunteers at Goodwill Washington Road Empty Stocking Fund Distribution
We had a lot of Santas in our community this month. We know how important Christmas is to a lot of families. It made us very happy to help through our Empty Stocking Fund distribution in partnership with the Augusta Chronicle. Over 850 CSRA families and 2,300 children in need received gifts.
"One of the things that were really important for us is we wanted these parents to be able to pick out the gifts that their children wanted. They actually went to an online store, they picked the gifts that they wanted for their kids and those were the gifts that were packaged up and given to them. It wasn't other people deciding what we thought their children wanted, the parents themselves picked out those gifts for their kids from the Empty Stocking Fund online store. " , said Brittany Burnett, United Way President and CEO.
Volunteers working under the rain and cold weather at Kroc and Goodwill distributions
We had three days of gift distribution at the Kroc Center, Augusta Tech Waynesboro, and Goodwill Washington Road. It was a massive effort from planning to logistics, volunteer coordination, and execution under inclement weather.
We can’t thank enough the village of hundreds of volunteers from local organizations that donated their time and resources: Augusta Chronicle, Goodwill, Golden Harvest Food Bank, Chick-Fil-A, Queensborough, SRP, Textron, John Deere, Amazon, South State, SRNS, Club Car, Blanchard and Calhoun, Augusta Tech, UPS, Elliott Davis, Mobley-Gentry, Waynesboro Rotary, EBA Interact, Burke Co BOE BETA Club, Enoch Tarver, United Way Staff and our Board of Directors.
Recipient families were so grateful, and many of them with their own stories of struggles. A mother of twins that lost one after medical complications, a hard-working young single mother, grandparents on fixed income raising their grandkids, a mother of 6 abandoned by her husband that did not have the means to buy toys for her children.
In addition, we distributed gift cards from Publix to another 50 families and 100 kids. An anonymous donor also gave bikes and visa gift cards to the neediest families. In the end, almost 2,400 CSRA children received personally chosen gifts or gift cards.
There are short and long-term needs here in our community, and we wanted to make sure that all families get the Christmas they want and deserve.
Sadly, the Empty Stocking Fund Atlanta warehouse was broken into the week before Christmas in the most aggressive of ways. The loss was significant. It truly is heartbreaking, but they ended on a high note and served as many children as they possibly could.
They did not give up and refused to let that Grinch steal Christmas.