Dec. 4, 2013 at 3:00 PM ET
The holidays can be a challenging time for families in need, and purchasing gifts can be out of the question.
The TODAY Show Toy Drive donations sent to Kids in Crisis each year have a powerful impact on hundreds of Connecticut children and families alike.
Tina, for instance, came to Kids in Crisis last year for help finding a new job, and feared Santa wouldn't be able to find her children come Christmas Day.
Tina previously worked as a geriatric nurse, and spent her entire life helping people. Around the holidays, when many of those seniors she cared for were without family and friends, Tina found joy in surrounding them with love and joy.
Then, in a flash, Tina was injured in a car accident. Someone who always took care of others before thinking of herself was forced to go on disability. She came to Kids in Crisis, Connecticut’s only free, round-the-clock agency, and was provided assistance to work with community resources to get back on her feet.
It was a slow process, but one of Tina’s biggest fears last Christmas was having nothing under the tree for her children after a very difficult year. Thanks to the gifts sent from the TODAY Show Toy drive to Kids in Crisis, her holiday wish and those of her kids were met. Santa found her family in their time of need, and left them beautiful gifts under the tree for all three kids. The gifts not only brightened the holidays, but gave Tina the peace of mind to start the new year off in a better place.
Kids in Crisis (www.kidsincrisis.org) provides emergency shelter, crisis counseling and community educational programs for children of all ages and families dealing with a wide range of crises: domestic violence, mental health and family problems, substance abuse, economic difficulties and more. Since its founding in 1978, Kids in Crisis has helped more than 118,000 Connecticut children and families; last year, more than 6,000 children and families received assistance from the organization.
Based in Cos Cob, Conn., Kids in Crisis offers a wide range of clinical and social services to children, newborn to age 17. In addition to providing 24-hour, on-call help for parents and children (203-327-KIDS), Kids in Crisis offers comprehensive emergency shelter in two facilities, both licensed by the state of Connecticut: the Crisis Nursery for infants and young children and the Teen House for adolescents. These homes, complete with a fully-staffed, state-of-the-art medical clinic, provide therapeutic care in a safe, nurturing environment for up to 20 children at any one time.
Additionally, Kids in Crisis provides unparalleled prevention programs throughout the communities it serves. SafeTalk, a series of workshops available to elementary and middle schools, teaches children to be safe and educates parents and teachers on how to identify abuse and get help; TeenTalk offers student outreach counselors to area high schools to help adolescents with personal and family pressures.