Local Man Seeks Community Support In Puerto Rico Christmas Donations
A local man is making it his personal mission to give Puerto Rican children the opportunity to experience Christmas this year.
James Bliss, project coordinator for his one-man initiative, “Christmas for Puerto Rico,” is encouraging individuals and organizations in the Jamestown community to donate Christmas gifts and related holiday themed items for Puerto Rican children up to 12 years old in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in September.
“I just like doing things to help people who are suffering,” Bliss said. “The intent behind this concept is to go above and beyond providing essential goods to the people of Puerto Rico during the Christmas season, and providing something invaluable to the children of the island; a Christmas that offers some sense of comfort to young lives that are otherwise strained by struggle and disarray.
“Just as the Grinch tried stealing Christmas from Whoville, Hurricane Maria has threatened to take away Christmas from the children of Puerto Rico,” he continued. “We cannot allow that to happen.”
Bliss said ideal gifts should be small and lightweight, to maximize volume and minimize the cost of transportation. They should not require electricity or be battery powered, even if batteries are included. They should be gender neutral, as much as possible, and toys that challenge children to exercise their minds are encouraged.
He suggested each gift be accompanied by essential or near-essential items, such as pre-packaged snacks, holiday-themed candy or a bottle of water. Christmas cards of well wishes are welcome and encouraged, but should only accompany a gift. Items to avoid would be candy canes, cookies or hard candy, which would will likely break in transit.
Those who are working with a nonprofit, church group or other group, are asked to bundle gifts in larger boxes for consolidated transport. Gifts should not be wrapped.
Bliss has set a donation deadline of Dec. 9. He has asked those interested in participating, both individuals and groups, to contact him at 490-8600 or via the “Christmas for Puerto Rico” Facebook page to coordinate a pickup time. He will gather the collected items and ship them out accordingly.