READING, Pa. – In the run-up to the holiday season, a non-profit organization in Reading that works for at-risk children is asking for help from the community.
The Children’s Home of Reading says it is serving more children than ever before and needs even more donations. The nonprofit is asking for help, so every child it serves has a gift this holiday season.
“Some of these kids have never had a bed,” explains Jill Troutman, vice president of promotions, marketing and communications. “We take so many things for granted. It’s just heartbreaking.”
Troutman says that during the holiday season, the simplest things can have a big impact on the children and teens served by the Children’s Home of Reading.
“We have kids asking for socks and hoodies,” Troutman explains. “We had a kid who asked for a Hershey bar — that simple of an item.”
Troutman says the need for donations to buy those kinds of items has grown exponentially. Last year, the home served more than 1,100 children.
“This year we’re on track, almost tripling that number,” Troutman said.
She partly blames COVID-19 for the increased need, saying the pandemic has halted or greatly hindered child and youth services, creating a much greater need in 2022.
In addition, the children’s home recently expanded its services and acquired another company serving Berks and Schuylkill counties.
“So they will add 14 new programs to our already continuum of 26,” Troutman explains.
People can help by donating event tickets so the kids can watch a movie or see a game. Troutman says gift cards also help.
“It’s a way for us to teach about money management and learn about savings and give them the opportunity to shop wherever they want or maybe go to their favorite fast food restaurant,” Troutman said.
Visit the nonprofit’s website for information about The Children’s Home of Reading and to make a donation.