Rutland, Vermont—Despite the challenges of 2020, RSVP & The Volunteer Center volunteers helped provide approximately 15,000 new and restored toys to almost 1,200 Rutland County children through this year’s 20th annual Operation Dolls & More Drive-Thru event.
During normal years, the program partners with Trinity Church in Rutland for a complete holiday event where gifts are distributed. This year, to observe COVID-19 safety precautions, the program hosted 40 “stations” for a drive-thru event, where organizations and non-profits could pick up gifts for distribution. Operation Dolls & More is a beloved program and holds an essential event every year to help provide holiday hope and relief for parents.
“Giving these gifts to families in need helps families take a burden of their plates when it comes to figuring out how they are going to provide Christmas gifts to their children,” Says Maryesa White, Program Coordinator at RSVP & The Volunteer Center.
“This helps parents and caregivers concentrate on providing other essential items, whether that’s food or paying bills, etc. I feel like our program really helps families with the feeling of hope when this time of year brings many down, not knowing if they can provide for their families.”
Work on this event begins in February of each year, with volunteers making and restoring items year-round. This year, 97 volunteers contributed 25, 406 hours to make the program a success. Dues to COVID-19, volunteers were not able to work in group settings as they normally would. Instead, they worked at home, picking up and dropping off supplies as needed.
While this year’s event wasn’t as festive as years past, it safely and successfully accomplished its mission: to help parents and caregivers offer holiday cheer to kids.
“Every child should wake up on Christmas morning to at least one gift–even if it is something small. This not only helps by putting a smile on their face, but also parents get to see the joy of their children opening a gift on Christmas morning when they thought they may not be able to get them anything.
This program has helped thousands of children over the years and we are still going strong. Our goal is to help even more families next year during the holiday season.”