The needs of children aren’t just mental or physical. When disasters hit, whole families are affected, including children. Few agencies are as attuned to the needs of children as is 21st Century Santa.
Our disaster preparedness mission is to be a leading advocate in Oklahoma to children who have survived a disaster. As a member of Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), we will help provide the leadership that builds strong resilient communities and deliver hope in times of need.
During disasters, 21st Century Santa, Inc., is available to provide vital services to children of affected families. Our primary aim is to meet the personal needs of every child that has encountered a disaster and provide these children with a new toy and/or stuffed animal to replace the ones they lost, and to help them feel safe and secure. We understand that dealing with trauma is a long-term process and that families that eve experience a trauma usually don’t recover in a week or two. We are available to assist families during Christmas and the child’s birthday follow a disaster, as well as providing an immediate response to the event.
For example, we were on the ground helping with recovery in Moore, OK, following the May 2013 tornado. In May and June of 2019, our organization responded for 14 days to 9 counties/communities serving more than 150 families that were affected by two tornadoes and flooding in Northeast Oklahoma. We distributed approximately 1500 toys, with a total value over $13,000, to over 450 children. We followed up helping over 100 of these families for the birthdays and Christmas wishes of the children as well.
We could not do this without your loving and generous support. We are thankful for our sponsors, donors and volunteers for making it possible for us to serve these children.
According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, “two of the most important things a child needs regardless of the circumstances are maintaining a routine, and play time. Maintaining a routine even in the midst of chaos like natural disasters helps children feel secure and safer. Playing, reading and cuddling, all help a child feel connected.” One of the “Calming and Coping Ideas” listed by NCTSN is to have something to hold – such as a blanket, pillow, and/or stuffed animal.
In addition, to maintain this on-going ministry, we are looking at the need to purchase a van or pick-up truck and a trailer to deliver toys and equipment to and from disaster sites.