"We knew there was going to be a bigger need this year, but we didn't imagine it being this substantial," NAM President and CEO Les Cave said in a statement. "Last year we provided toys for 1,773 children, and this year the need is nearly three times that. We're calling upon the community to help us provide a joyous holiday season for these children."
According to a Dec. 1 news release, NAM's goal is to collect a total of 16,000 toys so each child can receive at least three toys. To support this initiative, community members are encouraged to visit NAM's Blessing Tree, located at 15555 Kuykendahl Road, Houston, where they can choose a child's name and shop specifically for that child.
To fill in any gaps, the nonprofit is also accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys for children from newborns to age 18, which can be dropped off at NAM or at The Harrell Family Opportunity Center, which is located behind NAM's main building. Toy donations can be dropped off Tuesdays-Thursdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. until Dec. 11.
Gift ideas include age-appropriate books, baby dolls and doll clothes, Legos or blocks, toy trucks and cars, Barbie dolls and accessories, board games, puzzles, action figures or superhero toys, arts and craft supplies, Play-Doh, slime, science kits, hair accessories, beanie caps, footballs, soccer balls and basketballs. For additional gift ideas, click here.
In addition to toys, NAM is also accepting food donations to feed families this holiday season at the Joanne Watford Nutrition Center. Food items included on NAM's holiday food wishlist include canned fruit, cranberry sauce, canned mixed vegetables, canned pumpkin, chicken broth, evaporated milk, canned soup, canned corn, canned green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, canned yams, turkey or chicken gravy, frozen turkeys, brownie mixes, cookie mixes and cake mixes.
Food donations can be dropped off at the nonprofit's food pantry Mondays-Fridays from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Those wanting to commit to hosting a food drive for NAM at their place of business or organization can contact NAM Chief Advancement Officer Brian Carr by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
"NAM loves to help families throughout the year, and especially during the holidays, it is even more special," Carr said in a statement. "We never want to turn away a family in need and this year there are more families than we have ever seen asking NAM for help."
To make a monetary donation directly to NAM's Season of Blessings campaign, click here. For more information about volunteer opportunities with NAM, email email@example.com or click here to download a volunteer application.