CAMDEN—With Christmas and the holiday season come and go, there is still one other special day in every child’s life—a birthday.
Richard and Kit Aroneau, owners of the toy store Planet Toys in Camden, have long been supporters of the Knox County Homeless Coalition’s "Adopt-a-Family for the Holidays" program, which, thanks to the generosity of the community, gave nearly 90 families received presents, clothes and necessary items this year.
“We have worked with the Aroneaus for years and they’ve always donated gift baskets and toys for our programs, but we got talking about the idea of birthdays and how it’s such an important occasion for kids,” said Volunteer Coordinator Ev Donnelly. “Though everyone has a birthday, not everyone gets a birthday present. And it would really be nice to have something for them year round.”
With the Aroneaus’ donation, 20 families will receive a gift certificate of $25 to spend on a child’s birthday at Planet Toys. Already, one young woman visited planet Toys to buy a gift for her one-year-old baby.
“They don’t just have toys at Planet; they’ve got clothes, books, electronics and games,” said Donnelly. “So, some of our families with a child’s birthdays coming up can take their child into the Planet and select something really nice that they might not have been able to afford.”
Donnelly said the gift certificates are for their clients and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis, but that they may stagger the gift certificates out throughout the year. “We also have some funding left over from Adopt-a-Family for the Holidays program that we put towards birthdays, so if one of our clients is really in a pinch and wants something special for a child’s birthday, we’re open to helping out,” she said.
Richard Aroneau said: "The great Jewish philosopher Martin Buber wrote ‘Every time a child is born it’s as if the first child was born’. In other words, every life is unique and miraculous. That’s why birthdays are so special and why it’s so vitally important that every child’s birthday be recognized and celebrated with joy. At Planet, we’re excited to be able to play a role in helping to create that magic.”
Planet Toys will be closed for winter break the whole month of March.
To find out more about how you can make a difference with those who are homeless in our area, contact the Knox County Homeless Coalition at 207-593-8151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com