For some kids in the greater Columbus area, the holidays are coming early this year.
Santa’s Helpers — an initiative started by student organization Royalty — has been collecting new or gently used toys every Tuesday since the start of November to be delivered to underprivileged children across Columbus during the holiday season, including donations of gift wrap, boxes and money.
Royalty is a student organization that focuses on elevating underrepresented minority women through community service.
Precious Brown, a fifth-year in psychology at Ohio State and vice president of Royalty, said she feels that in giving, the group is “also getting something back.”
“We get to exchange these stories and share with other people, helping those who might be going through the same thing,” Brown said.
Logan Johnson, a fifth-year in political science, criminology and criminal justice and president of Royalty, said the organization helps to build a sisterhood of black women of all ages.
“We do that through mentorship and community service,” Johnson said. “We try to build a bond through our different service activities.”
Although the organization is still deciding where the gifts will be sent, it has gone one step further to ensure the gifts are delivered “with a big, red bow on top.”
“We are doing a gift wrapping event, so people can come and wrap gifts, as well as write cards to go along with the gifts,” Johnson said.
Royalty has facilitated other volunteer programs at places such as Huckleberry House, the YMCA Van Buren Center, YWCA and Columbus City Preparatory School for Girls through a mentorship program.
Johnson said this is Royalty’s first time doing the initiative and will likely make Santa’s Helpers an annual event.
“Every organization has signature events, and we want this one to be ours,” Johnson said.
Brown said the organization wants students on campus to understand the true spirit of the holiday season through giving and compassion.
“Some people don’t have any place to go, or they don’t have a family to go to, or they don’t get that Thanksgiving family experience,” Brown said. “Be grateful for what you have. There are many opportunities to give, even if it’s just your time.”
Johnson said the event helps enhance Royalty’s emphasis on community-building among black women.
“I just really want black women to understand what we can accomplish when we work together. It’s unlimited. We have such big hearts, but we’re so tough,” Johnson said. “Sometimes these two clash, but here, they don’t have to. We’re tough enough to make it happen, because we have the heart.”
Santa’s Helpers will have two final donation days from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. on Nov. 27 and Dec. 3 in the Barbie Tuttle Room at the Ohio Union.