EMPORIA, Kan. (KSNT) – A local nonprofit is looking for help in order to make the holiday brighter for crime victims and others in need.
SOS in Emporia provides services for individuals, families and kids who’ve experienced domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
The organization is collecting gifts to give to the families through its annual Holiday Drive.
Here’s how it works: A staff member meets with their clients and gets a list of things their clients need in their lives. Some are necessities but other things are for fun, like toys, hobbies, and activities. Once they have that list, they give it to a donor who’s volunteered to “adopt” a family or an individual and then they go out, shop, and bring the gifts back.
Staff members will then contact the families and set up a time to drop off the gifts.
“A lot of the time what happens with our casework is that families contact us in some of the worst situations that they’re experiencing and so it’s a crisis situation and we need to respond to their needs in an immediate manner,” said Jennifer Horst, Therapy & Program Coordinator. “So the holiday drive is actually one of the times when it’s a happy reason that we’re interacting with our clients. And so we celebrate the holidays in that way. It’s a great experience for staff because staff get to deliver those gifts to the families and we get to see that happiness.”
While the drive is intended to lift the spirits of the families SOS helps, it means just as much to the staff.
“We know some of the things that they’ve been through and some of the hardest days that they’ve been through. And we’ve talked with them on those days and so, I’m not going to lie, it’s very emotional for us too,” Horst said. “It’s extremely important for staff to get to do this just as much as it is for the families because we have to remind ourselves of the good things and the happy moments so that helps us get through some of the harder days.”
Last year, SOS was able to help 137 people in the Emporia community through the Holiday Drive.
SOS would like the gifts to be brought back by Dec. 16 so they have time to get them to the families so they can wrap them.
If you’d like to learn more about their services or information on how to donate, click here.