Every December, thousands of people buy toys, clothes and stocking-suffers so families in need can have a happy holiday. But what happens when those donors forget items or buy the wrong size?
At one Dallas church, so-called last-minute angels dash to stores to fill empty bags and save Christmas.
On a busy Friday night at Dallas’ Holy Trinity Catholic Church, sponsors are dropping off bags of new, unwrapped clothes and toys from wish lists they’ve promised to fill.
By 7 a.m. the next morning, hundreds of recipients will start arriving in shifts at this Oak Lawn neighborhood church to pick up their bags. Each of the bags arriving Friday night gets set out on the school assembly room floor to be checked by volunteers, like Mckenzi Skinner.
“I am an audit captain,” Skinner says. “We’re going through all of the gifts our sponsors bring in and checking to make sure we have clothes, shoes and toys for each of the children sponsored.”
Skinner and the audit team take this job seriously. If something’s missing or clothing is the wrong size, volunteer auditor Carolina Skertchly passes that on to volunteer shoppers.
“Tonight,” Skertchly says, “they’ll go shopping for whatever’s missing. Then anything that we have that’s the wrong size or whatever, we kind of divvy it out to whoever can take it.”
Mistakes happen. Maybe a bag with a size 9 shoe actually needs a size 5. But, returning volunteer Megan Culp says things seem worse this year.
“There’s a quite a bit of pieces missing,” Culp says. “Some folks forgot to shop entirely and are not coming tonight. Others simply couldn’t find the clothing sizes required, and some people just cherry-picked what to shop for and not for.”