With just a little over two weeks left, organizers are desperate for donations to fund the Holiday with a Hero shopping spree for children in need in Carson City.
While the number of children qualifying as homeless in the school district this year has more than doubled, from 151 to 350, the donations are far less than year's past, said Carson City sheriff's Detective Daniel Gonzales, board president for Holiday with a Hero.
"We are way below our anticipated goal at this time, and we run the risk of not being able to serve all the children," said Gonzales.
In the two week since the first announcement of this year's fundraising drive, donations have reached just $1,000, said Detective Dena Lacy.
The goal is to give each child a $100 gift card to Walmart, which they can spend however they wish as they are escorted through the store with a deputy, firefighter or other public safety employee.
At this rate, said Lacy, the 7-year-old program is in jeopardy.
Even if the children get only $50 gift cards, the program still needs to raise $17,500 for the Dec. 15 and 16 shopping trips.
In addition to the spending money, the children are bused to the Walmart by the school district, their purchases are gift-wrapped by volunteers, and they are treated to a lunch.
Gonzales said they have plenty of people to wrap - it's money that's needed.
"We want to be able to service all the kids in the Students in Transition program," he said.
The Carson City School District's Students in Transition program monitors school-aged children in the city who are identified as homeless, living in shelters or doubling up with another family.
There are several new ways to donate:
• Donations can be made at Bank of the West, 2976 N. Carson St. Carson City, Account #025761072, Tax ID #80-0763632. All checks should be made payable to: Holiday with a Hero
• Donations can be mailed to: Holiday with a Hero, P.O. Box 2790, Carson City, NV 89702
• Or donations can be dropped off at the Carson City Sheriff's Office front counter, at 911 E. Musser St. Carson City. The deadline for donations is Dec. 9.
For more information, email Detective Daniel Gonzales at firstname.lastname@example.org or Detective Dena Lacy at email@example.com.