Raytown group organizing Christmas gift drive to make sure kids in need aren’t forgotten

RAYTOWN, Mo. -- Raytown residents are working together to make sure no child is left out this holiday season. They're "adopting" local children through a new program to help families in need for Christmas.

Susan Brown runs a Raytown community Facebook page with thousands of members.

About two weeks ago, she and the other administrators of that page started Raytown Charity Unleashed to help families in need for Christmas.

“Families will send me a private message and give me the details of their children, and then we just assign the children codes or letters,” Brown said.

The families in need remain anonymous.

The page administrators then post a list on the page with the kids' ages, what toys they want, and what their hobbies are.

“Anybody can come on and say I'll take kid AAA and what not. And we mark them as adopted, and we kind of track it on our separate page to make sure we have everybody adopted and that no kids get adopted twice,” Brown said.

One member of the Facebook group, Debbie Kappler, saw the charity and wanted to participate.

“Seems like a good idea. I`m always looking for ways to give back,” Kappler said, “especially for how much this community has done for me and this studio.”

She runs Renew Yoga in Raytown, which also happens to be the drop off location for the toys.

“I do a few community classes a week, but we raise donations and I thought, 'Well, I'll use them to pay bills.' And as I saw the list grow and grow -- there's so much need in Raytown -- I thought, maybe that's a better use for that money,” Kappler added.

At last count, there were about 78 kids on the list, nine of whom still needed to be adopted.

“A lot of them are people who have just struggled,” Brown said. “You've got things as simple as wanting a Barbie doll or wanting things to draw with or craft making. A lot of the toys have been really simple.”

There's a list of kids who still need to be adopted on the Raytown Charity Unleashed Facebook page. You can send a message there if you'd like to participate.

“Every kid deserves a magical Christmas,” Kappler said.

“It's fun to be able to go and do that and know that some little kid out there is going to be able to open up presents on Christmas and that you had something to do with it,” Brown said.

Children who live in Raytown have top priority because it's a Raytown page. But if the group has the ability to help kids on the outskirts of Raytown, it will. Families who adopt don't have to live in Raytown.

The cutoff date for adding kids to the list is Dec. 15, and parents will be picking up gifts on Dec. 23.