ST. GEORGE — The KONY Coins for Kids program has announced that they will not be recruiting volunteers this year to shop, wrap or deliver gifts to children in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the spirit of giving will still be intact, and program officials said they are still seeking community members to help continue this mission.
Coins for Kids president Carl Lamar told St. George News that the Washington County nonprofit is entering its 30th season of spreading joy by doing things a little differently. Families will be approved for assistance as normal, but instead of having gifts delivered by an army of Santas, parents will be able to shop for their families at the Washington Walmart from 5-8:30 p.m. on Dec. 15-17.
Coins for Kids will pay for each family’s toy and clothing selections up to a limit determined by their board.
Chairman Brian Musso said that due to the circumstances of the year, the program extended their application deadline for families, closing on Wednesday, at which point they had approved 518 families and 1,225 children for assistance. The organization supports anywhere between 1,200-2,500 kids per year, Lamar said.
Despite the changes, there are still ways the public can help throughout the Christmas season. People can adopt a family, meaning they will be matched with a family in need and can shop, wrap and deliver gifts to their door.
Musso said they ask that those who choose to adopt spend between $110-125 per child, which is the average amount spent on each child the organization supports. Adopters can choose how many children they’d like to adopt. So far, 331 children have been adopted this year out of the 1,225 approved.
Anyone interested in helping out can also donate money or toys. The organization accepts donations through Amazon Smiles, Venmo and cash. More information is available on the KONY Coins for Kids website.
“Without the community, we couldn’t do this, period,” Lamar said in 2019 leading up to the event that saw hundreds of people show up to shop. “The community has really help us out and supported us over the years to an incredible degree. I don’t think anybody can do a program similar to this anywhere else in the country.”
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