LAKELAND, Fla. — A Lakeland organization is helping make the holidays special for struggling families.
About 2,000 toys are ready to be wrapped and handed out by Riley’s Reindeers. The charity organization was born last year, out of great need of families facing financial hardships from the pandemic.
“Last year we actually posted it on Facebook and Craigslist and just said ‘hey, if you’ve fallen on hard times, if your kids need anything for Christmas, please just reach out to us,’ said Tyler Wooldridge, Cofounder of Riley’s Reindeers.
They were able to deliver gifts to the homes of nearly 300 less fortunate children in Polk County.
“We wrapped the presents kind of tailored-made to them and then dropped them off at their homes. But this year is going to be a little different. We’re doing a pick-up this Sunday the 5th and people are going to come pick out two toys for each child that they have,” Wooldridge said.
Riley’s Reindeers will be passing out the toys on Dec. 5, from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. at Hunt Fountain Park in Lakeland. No registration is needed.
“It’s so hard for people to ask for help especially when so many people are in the same situation. So, reaching out is difficult, so if we can be there. We’re not going to ask for any proof of financials. We're not going to ask for income statements, anything like that. If there’s a need, just come,” said Kristen Rush, Cofounder of Riley's Reindeers.
To make sure every child has something to open on Christmas day, they still need your help with making a toy or monetary donation.
“Families that we gave to last year reached out and said, ‘thank you, those were the only two gifts that were under the tree for them and were so happy that they were able to open them and just have something,’ Rush said.
If you’d like to help, you can send monetary donations via Venmo or Cash App to @RileysReindeers. Toy donations can be dropped off at Hunt Fountain Park on Sunday morning.