“We have over 300 kids that have called us so far,” says Robert Gager, the executive director of Shepherd’s Heart.
Imagine that – 300 children in Waco who would be going without a Christmas if it wasn’t for this toy drive.
Most of them are homeless or are struggling in a bad living situation.
Gager adds, “And some of these homes are very spartan. These children might be living with a grandmother, there might be six of them living with grandma, and it’s very difficult to provide Christmas to them. And when I knock on the door and I got these toys for them, they just light up.”
Every year, Gager delivers the toys to the kids personally, and says it’s heartbreaking.
“Like, wow. I want to do more. So they are excited. The kids are really excited. They see all these commercials on TV about what Christmas is like and see all these movies about all the hope for Christmas. We give them hope,” Gager adds.
Before he gets to that, Gager has to pick up all the toys.
“After today, we’ll spend about a week sorting these toys and getting them put into age groups – boy/girl – things like that. So we can sort them out and begin applying them to all of the kids that have already called us for Christmas,” Gager continues.
And with 37 partners with numerous dropoff points, there are a lot of toys to sort.
Gager adds, “I think the biggest place we have picked up so far is Tractor Supply. We did that this morning. They had three gaylords of toys. They had a competition between the first, second, and third ship to collect the most toys. It was amazing.”
And of course, if any children are left without toys on Christmas, Shepherd’s Heart will make sure to step up.
“At the end of it, if we have a bunch of toys missing for children, we go to Walmart. Spend thousands of dollars filling that out,” Gager continues.