Local organization that collects holiday gifts for children expects to help more than 1,400 this year

10 On Your Side

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A local nonprofit that collects gifts for kids for Christmas is starting things earlier than usual this year.

Four years ago when Savannah Avery started Christmas Sponsorship 757, she didn’t know just how many people in Hampton Roads would reach out for help. The need for her organization quickly grew from serving around 100 children to serving more than 1,400 children last year.

“And this year were expecting to double that number,” said Avery.

Because the number of kids in need is expected to be in the thousands this year, her organization started things a little early. They’ve already begun collecting toys and gifts.

“We have the 6 to 9 kids we have the most toys in this area because this is the most common age range we get,” said Avery.

This year they’re adding food.

“At the end of last season, we did a survey with all of our members like ‘How can we do better’? ‘What did you like?’ ‘What didn’t you like?’ And we changed a few things and food was one of the biggest things, so kids were getting gifts, but they were hungry,” she said.

The founder also says they’re opening the application process for families a few weeks earlier this year.

“We’re starting to take applications on October 10 and they just join the [Facebook] group Christmas Sponsorship 757 the night before the 10th. We’ll post the applications, they’ll fill out the answers and send it to our page via Facebook message,” explained Avery.

The group serves youth all the way up to age 18 and will also serve those over the age of 18 who have special needs.

“Christmas is a really magical time in a kids life and we just want to make sure that every kid in Hampton Roads can experience that,” she said.

Avery says they have an Amazon wish list, accept cash donations and will also be looking for people to sign up and be a sponsor. They’ll start taking sponsors October 20.

Sponsors will fill out a form that asks how many kids they want to help and the city where they can help.

For more information, click here.

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