CINCINNATI — With Christmas right around the corner, some families are wrapping up their last-minute gifts while others are struggling to make ends meet in hopes of providing their family with a great holiday. That’s why one southwest Ohio organization is stepping up to help.

What You Need To Know

  • Cincinnati Public Schools collaboration with Project Connect and My Kidz Foundation recently held it's annual toy drive

  • Since 2013, they have collected more than 13,000 toys

  • The toy drive is helping parents like Elizabeth McVay, who has experienced homelessness for the past couple of months

  • She said this helps relieve stress and the burden of having to buy all the gifts

It's been a challenging couple of months for Elizabeth McVacy and her children. That's because they've been homeless. But through the help of Cincinnati Public Schools' Project Connect and My Kidz Foundation, she’s hoping to provide her children with a wonderful Christmas.

“I had to put out quite a bit of money one night for a hotel, and then with Project Connect, they were able to get me into the Bethany House, which we’ve been staying there for two weeks,” she said. 

McVay recently met up with Project Connect Program Manager Rebeka Beach to discuss her children's wish list. Beach’s team will find the items on the list from their recent toy drive and pack them all together for McVay. McVay’s children are among the 3,500 Cincinnati Public School students experiencing homelessness.

“It does take a burden off of me to where I can provide more food for my kids instead of worrying about putting out money for toys instead,” she said. 

Project Connect, an organization that serves families experiencing homelessness, partnered with My Kidz Foundation for the toy drive this year. Since 2013, they’ve collected more than 13,000 toys.

“We really love the toy drive because it’s an opportunity to give families and children things that are fun and be able to provide for them a holiday that other children are having,” said Beach. 

Now that all the toys have been checked off the list and handed to McVay, she is one step closer to making her children’s Christmas so special.

“I just know when they wake up on Christmas, they’re going to smile,” said McVay as she wiped away tears. 

Project Connect is still in need of donations.