ATTLEBORO — The phone lines for Christmas Is For Kids opened to callers on Sunday, ringing steadily for two hours, according to chairperson Kelly Fox.
It’s what Fox called a “fantastic” start to the 2021 season, but there’s still a ways to go.
“We’re still thinking 900 is easily the number (of needy children) we’ll get this year,” Fox said.
In anticipation of toy shortages, and shortages of other items in the upcoming holiday season, Fox and her team had placed a toy order with a wholesaler in August.
However, even with what Fox called “basic items” being requested, such as board games, warm clothes, arts and crafts supplies, along with basketballs and footballs, specific items may not be as readily available.
To this end, Fox is both cautioning everyone to be prepared for this possibility while assuring parents that she and her “elves” will do the best they can in fulfilling the children’s needs.
“If we need to substitute something out, we will as need be,” Fox said. “There hasn’t been much we’ve come across that wasn’t so general that we haven’t been able to fulfill it.”
An early need for Christmas Is For Kids has been winter boots for both boys and girls, with sizes starting at 2T to small adult sizes.
And due to the high number of teenagers needing to be matched to donors, gift cards to Target, Walmart, GameStop and Kohl’s are being requested.
Over 30 children were matched to donors on Sunday, with Fox and her elves back in the swing of things at its seasonal headquarters on County Street.
While COVID-19 regulations didn’t stop the work of the nonprofit organization last year, Fox and her team have still kept some requirements for this year’s season, such as masks and social distancing. Additionally, two shifts for the afternoon and evening have been put in place to minimize the building’s occupancy for safe distancing, and donation drop-offs will only be during the evening hours.
As far back as September, Fox’s volunteers worked tirelessly to clean and organize the building’s work area.
“It really helped us get in there and get going,” Fox said.
The upcoming week will be shorter for the Christmas Is For Kids volunteers because of Thanksgiving, with the deadline for individual donors to drop off their items on Dec. 8 and the remaining donations on Dec. 11.
“The most important thing is, we need the phones to ring the next two nights,” Fox said on Sunday.
Even with the holiday rush approaching, especially since Thanksgiving falls later on the November calendar this year, Fox is anticipating the season with high hopes, especially after the previous year when COVID-19 changed so much.
“I’m just very excited to be back with everyone,” Fox said. “I know the community will take care of these kids, and I’m very excited to watch it happen.”
The Christmas Is For Kids phone lines are open 5 to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday of this week; the following week, they will be open Monday through Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The phone number is: 508-226-0911.