On last year’s packaging day, Mary Swick (left) and Alexandra Younger check that each family’s gift package contains the correct items.
Photo by Bonnie Hobbs.
Now in its 25th year, the nonprofit Our Neighbor’s Child (ONC) provides financially struggling, local families with new toys and clothes for the holidays. Children under 12 also receive brand-new books, and every family gets two dozen, home-baked cookies made by the local high schools. This year, ONC is helping some 800 families and really needs the community to lend a hand toward the effort. Here’s how:
- On Saturday, Dec. 3, from 9-11 a.m., Stone Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society will hold a Panther Drop-Off gift collection. People may drop off donations of brand-new toys, books, games and clothing at the school, 5500 Sully Park Drive in Centreville. Also needed are board games for ages 12 and up; blankets; gifts for teens, such as cologne, makeup, jewelry and gift cards. Donations should be unwrapped.
ONC also needs as many volunteers as possible for gift packaging and delivery days (see below).
Sunday, Dec. 11, from noon-2 p.m., set-up day at the warehouse.
Monday-Tuesday, Dec. 12-13, from 3:30-6:30 p.m., Westfield, Centreville and Chantilly high school SGAs - warehouse gift drop-off.
Wednesday, Dec. 14, from 3:30-6:30 p.m., bag check and shopping night.
Thursday, Dec. 15, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., packaging day.
Thursday, Dec. 15, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Cookie drop-off at the Virginia Run Community Center, 15355 Wetherburn Court, off Route 29 and Pleasant Valley Road, in Centreville. ONC will deliver approximately 20,000 homemade cookies along with the gifts, so plenty of baking help is needed. Each family gets a mixed assortment of two dozen cookies; bring the cookies in disposable containers.
Sunday, Dec. 18, from 1-4 p.m., delivery day.
Wednesday, Dec. 21, from noon-2 p.m., warehouse clean up.
To help with any of these things, people may email ONC at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up at www.ourneighborschild.org, and click on “volunteer” at the top of the page. They may pick whatever appeals to them; baking cookies, shopping, packaging gifts, delivering gifts, or setting up or cleaning up the warehouse.