According to The Warren Center’s CEO Amy Spawn,
“Every year, the Warren Center hosts hundreds of children with developmental delays and disabilities at the annual Operation Santa holiday event, where gifts from our annual toy drive are distributed in a fun, safe and sensory-friendly atmosphere. This year’s event, however, will look different due to COVID-19. To ensure social distancing and proper COVID-19 safety protocols, we are altering the party’s format to serve as a drive-thru holiday celebration. 2020 has been a challenging year for many North Texans, including the families we serve, of which at least 50 percent live beneath Texas’ poverty line. We are anticipating that our families’ needs will be much greater this year than ever before. Our wish is to have as many gifts from our Amazon Wish list purchased to serve at least 400 deserving children and their families this holiday season.
“Many of the young children we serve have chronic health conditions – and as a precaution, their parents and caregivers have decided to quarantine their families. At this year’s Operation Santa, we have created a safe, sensory-friendly environment for children with developmental disabilities and their families to enjoy the holiday season. The holiday drive-thru celebration will provide donated toys, holiday games, food and fun for the entire family.
“Now through Tuesday, December 1, we are seeking generous donors to participate in the Operation Santa Toy Drive. Community members can help bring joy to a child this holiday season by shopping online or dropping off new, unwrapped toys for children ages birth to seven-years-old at The Warren Center’s Richardson office by appointment. This year the team of experts at The Warren Center hand-selected gifts best suited for children with developmental delays and disabilities. These gifts are available for purchase through The Warren Center’s Amazon Wish List using this link.
“While shopping on Amazon, make sure to use smile.amazon.com, and 0.5% of your purchases will be donated back to The Warren Center. Simply select The Warren Center as your charity of choice when you sign up at Amazon Smile.
“To schedule a drop off at The Warren Center’s office located at 320 Custer Rd. Richardson, TX, please contact Allison Hall. All toys will be collected by Tuesday, December 1. For more information, please call 972.490.9055 ext. 1118.
“At The Warren Center, we provide therapy and support for over 3,000 families every year. Each day, the need for services continues to grow. The CDC estimates one in six children have intellectual or physical disabilities or delays. In Dallas County alone, over 102,000 children have a developmental disability. The period between birth to five years is a time of rapid development. The earliest possible intervention is critical due to the accelerated brain development during these first years of life. Early childhood intervention programs have been shown to yield benefits in academic achievement, behavior, educational progression and attainment, and labor market success. Before the pandemic, our staff traveled to 48 zip codes and more than 900 homes each week to serve children in need. Our offices also served more than 200 children on-site for clinic-based services. Providing physical therapy, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, and social support is essential to help children with disabilities reach their full potential.”
* Graphic/photo provided by The Warren Center