Spreading December cheer: Durham Children’s Initiative reimagines “Holiday Zone”
By Jock Lauterer | December 23, 2020 | 1:13 pm
Spreading holiday cheer, volunteer Avery Bryant helps out during the Durham Children’s Zone seventh annual “Holiday Zone,” on Dec. 12 at the DCI’s headquarter at Angier Ave. Durham VOICE Teen Editor-in-Chief Khadijah McFadden, who made this photograph, visually chronicles the day of joy in a photo essay accompanying this story by DCI intern Madison Reese.
Story by Madison Reese
The Durham VOICE
Photos by Khadijah McFadden
Durham Children’s Initiative (DCI) created “Holiday Zone” seven years ago to provide Christmas gifts for Durham families who need them. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, the traditional way Holiday Zone is executed had to change.
The Holiday Zone drive always starts with the annual collection of gifts by DCI from a diverse group of community volunteers. They filled carts up with loads of toys and other items for youth ages, infants-17.
After shopping, DCI staff trucked back to their main office (21010 Angier Ave.) with thousands of items to add to the thousands donated by volunteers. This year, however, DCI, with the help of staff, had parents and guardians go online, via Zoom or Facetime, to pick out gifts that they would want to receive. Gifts were then packaged into bags with the names of the families on them that had asked for those specific toys for pick-up later.
On Sat., Dec. 12, staff, community volunteers and families (masked-up and socially distanced) all took time out of their day to visit the “Holiday Zone” at the DCI office and pick up their children’s gifts and other goodies like holiday themed face masks and puzzles.
This year’s Holiday Zone proves that when a community comes together, in the spirit of the holidays even during a pandemic, good things in Durham can still take place.