Christmas Comes Early To Children In Baltimore
Jourdan Taylor | 12/21/2018, 6 a.m.
Of the nearly 80,000 students enrolled in Baltimore City Public Schools, a staggering 52.7 percent are from “low-income” families, according to baltimorecityschools.org. Because the number of low-income families in Baltimore is underreported, this number easily approaches 50,000 school-aged children.
Over half of the students in our city, in all grades from K-12, rely upon social programs such as “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families” and “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance” at school each day. Imagine the extent of the struggles faced by a family that can barely afford clothing and transportation to school for their kids each day, but cannot afford to feed them. The children of Baltimore who hold the keys to our future society severely lack the care and attention they need to grow and become productive citizens. They are underfed, underprivileged and underappreciated.
For many children across Baltimore, a holiday like Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, is but a dream. The thought of Santa Claus or the like, crawling down the chimney to deliver presents is incredibly far-fetched. For parents across the area, the holiday season can be terribly depressing. Working hours and hours just to keep the lights on, as much as they would like to be able to provide toys and entertainment for their kids— it’s a luxury they’ll never be able to afford. Many of these families simply must rely on charity and donations to make or break the hearts of poor, unfortunate little ones who deserve the chance to be happy despite their circumstances.
Thankfully, Baltimore City has a patron saint looking out for the city’s underprivileged but deserving youth and his name is not Santa Claus. Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and his Business Participation Initiative brought together over 200 businesses around the city as collection sites for donations during the holiday season. The effort was in cooperation with “Toys For Tots,” a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve, which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas.
However, City Council President Young didn’t stop there. He held his 7th Annual Toys For Tots Holiday Reception at the City Hall Rotunda on Thursday, December 13, 2018 where the only requirement for admission was a new unwrapped children’s toy to be donated. Additionally, hundreds of toys were purchased thanks to a group of generous corporate sponsors— all on display in the Rotunda of City Hall underneath a tall, beautiful Christmas tree.
“Our goal is to pack City Hall full of wonderful toys that will put smiles on the faces of very deserving young people,” Council President Young said. “During this holiday season this is one small way to make a difference in a child’s life.”
Catered by many of Baltimore’s finest restaurants, including but not limited to Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, Zeke’s Coffee, and Connie’s Chicken & Waffles, the Holiday Party was lively and festive. There was live entertainment, including a jazz band and Santa’s elves roamed around on stilts!
Hundreds, quite possibly over a thousand people, filled the various halls and floors of City Hall with holiday cheer. There were boxes overflowing the halls with presents and gifts, from televisions to bicycles to basketballs and hoops. The people of our city spared no expense for these children, and the spirit of giving was clearly felt in the air by all who attended. Our City Council and specifically Mr. Jack Young himself went above and beyond to bring Christmas to children in Baltimore.