RYE, N.Y. – Hurricane relief efforts put Reach Out Rye behind on its holiday collection goals, but when Rye Middle School teacher Craig Dreves put out a call for help from residents, the group’s donation goal was reached faster than ever.
“People took that to heart and responded twice as fast,” said Dreves, who is in charge of the Reach Out Rye Holiday Elves Project, aimed at adopting the needs of children at the Carver Center after-school program in Port Chester.
Typically, Reach Out Rye takes on 100 children, but this year the group stretched itself to meet the needs of Carver's entire program of 147 children. Because of the generosity of neighbors in Rye, the goal was reached within a week.
“It’s kind of a holiday miracle,” Dreves said. “The community came through unbelievably.”
Families were asked to provide a hoodie sweatshirt, winter hat, gloves or mittens, an age-appropriate book, and a handwritten holiday card directed to the recipient child so that the children could write “thank you” cards back to enhance their literacy skills. The entire package cost about $50. Because the need of the Carver Center's children is for clothing rather than toys, people’s heartstrings were tugged to give more.
“When we really think about it, that’s a basic need. I feel like it’s pretty touching. It’s heartwarming. The Carver Center really does a great job, and this is really the spirit of the holidays,” Dreves said.
The Rye YMCA is still asking for donations to support the Carver Center, as it manages its large community gift-giving drive to more than 600 Port Chester families.
Residents are asked to bring a toy, coat, gloves, new clothes and other items for children, unwrapped, to the Rye Y’s drop box in the lobby. Toys and games must be for children up to 11 years old. Gift cards to major department stores for tweens and teens should be handed directly to the front desk.
The deadline for donations is Thursday, Dec. 13. The Rye YMCA is at 21 Locust Ave., Rye.
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