Wards Of State Not Eligible For Christmas Distribution Programs

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Every Christmas, thousands of gifts are donated to needy children, but not everyone is so lucky. There is one group of boys in Wichita who will get nothing under their tree this Christmas unless members of the community step up to help.

The boys come from troubled pasts. They have all served time in juvenile detention and, by order of a judge, have been placed at the Salvation Army's residential facility. They're attending school and working hard to transition back into society.

Misty Harding with Salvation Army Youth Services says, as of right now, the boys will not receive any gifts for Christmas because they don't qualify for local distribution programs.

"They are wards of the state so they are just kinda left out. They fall through the cracks," said Harding.

Wichita resident Marlena Graham recently learned about the boys. She visited their facility and saw that most don't even have socks or shirts in their drawers. The boys, ages 12 to 20, arrive at the facility directly from juvenile detention with only the clothes on their backs.

When Graham found out the boys would get nothing for Christmas she called KAKE News. She hopes showing these boys that someone cares will help them grow into responsible adults.

"I think if they see people in the community taking time to invest in them they will be less likely to offend in the future," said Graham. "They just explained to me that they had no hope... they felt like the community had given up on them."

Graham hopes members of the community step forward to encourage the boys by making this Christmas special for them. Salvation Army officials say they would be more than happy to take direct donations for the boys to give to them as gifts on Christmas morning. They're asking for the following items:

Clothing (no text, plain or patterns only)
Boxer Shorts

Board Games
Art Supplies
Wii Games

Drop Off
350 N. Market Street
Wichita, KS 67202

Please mark all donations as "Residential" to make sure they go to the boys' facility.

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