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'Brooklyn Cares' program helps bring families' holiday wish lists to life

Posted at 7:19 AM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 07:19:14-05

BROOKLYN, Ohio — Parenting is no easy job and doing it with little help during a pandemic is even harder, but the “Brooklyn Cares” program is easing the burden by gifting families everything they need this holiday season.

This year has been anything but jolly for Sammie Stanislaw.

“My grandpa just died so we have to face that,” she explained.

Her days have recently been spent grieving and raising three boys as a single mom.

“Two are autistic. Giovanni is 12 and the twins are eight,” Stanislaw said. “It’s hard raising three kids by yourself like it’s a struggle.”

Stanislaw moved to Brooklyn, Ohio nine years ago. Her boys are enrolled in the same school as Mary Sparks’ two children. Like Stanislaw, Sparks was at one point desperate for help. Their struggles have now been heightened by the pandemic.

“Families are struggling because they can’t go to work or they don’t have the hours give it to them and they’re trying to juggle kids and taking the kids to the grocery store and taking the kids to go shopping. It’s just hard,” said Jessica Cliff, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President.

The impact is now being felt in virtual classrooms this year.

“It’s so much more than the education. It’s looking at the child seeing if the child is happy is the child healthy and how can we help with that as a community,” said Suzy Marquis, Brooklyn City Schools intervention specialist. “You just see these kids and they are your family.”

But every year in December comes a Christmas miracle through a program called “Brooklyn Cares.”

“Each year we help around 100 to 150 kids,” Marquis said. “It is heartwarming, and you wish you could bottle it up and sell it because the feeling that you get incredible.”

Marquis says the program wouldn’t be possible without the Brooklyn city schoolteachers, staff, community members and businesses who adopt wish lists from families like Stanislaw’s and Sparks.

For those in need of helping or wanting to be a part of the Brooklyn Cares program, you can contact Brooklyn City School’s main office or click here for more information.