Schenectady nonprofit collects gifts for children in need

November 15, 2017 12:02 AM

SCHENECTADY -- “One little boy asked for feminine hygiene products for his younger sister,” said Things of My Very Own Inc., CEO and Founder Rayn Boncie.

“Hygiene products, shampoo, conditioner,” said volunteer, Claudia Gray-Nilsen.
These are holiday requests of children in the Capital Region. 


The Schenectady non-profit provides emergency aid like clothes and blankets to children and families in crisis. 

“Children that have either experienced or been impacted by extensive abuse and neglect or who are at risk of a child protection protective services intervention,” Boncie said.

“They’re removed by protective services,” Claudia Gray-Nilsen. “And sometimes they are removed wrapped in a sheet.” 

The organization is having a holiday gift drive for the children by writing their wish lists on tags, which are picked up by people who want to donate the gifts.  

Boncie said kids are requesting toys as well as basic needs like food. 

“Some of the families that we work with get food stamps but run out at the end of the month,” Boncie said.

The gift drive is getting a lot of traction on social media and an outpouring of support.

“This morning a man in Italy reached out to us,” Boncie said. “I woman from Switzerland reached out to the pizza place where we have the gift tags available to sponsor.”

That pizza place is Visco Vley Road Pizzeria in Scotia, which is owned by Ann Olds.

“They're asking for necessities, warm blankets, warm coats,” Olds said. 

Anthony Ditoro stopped by to pick up a few tags to buy gifts for two kids. 

“And when you basically have more than you can ask for you got to share,” Ditoro said. 

While gift giving is great, staff members hope the spirit of giving lasts past the holidays. 

“But February through July or August are very, very difficult for families because the donations don't come in,” Boncie said. 

The organization helps an estimated five to seven thousand children and families each year.


Nia Hamm

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