The children of Pahar Ganj stayed back at church after mass on Thursday morning and waited for the Xmas toy drive team to get there.
More than 5,000 Christians reside in Pahar Ganj, a neighbourhood near Katti Pahari. They had toned down their Christmas celebrations this year after the Peshawar incident where more than 134 children died in a militant attack.
Around 450 bags filled with new toys, a juice-box, colouring books and snacks were distributed at four churches in the area. The toy drive is an entirely volunteer-based process. Every year at the beginning of December, they start asking for donations on social media. Friends and acquaintances help spread the word, requesting contributions in cash, new toys, snack cartons and even volunteering for wrapping and distributing the presents.
The collection closes by Christmas Eve and the day is spent purchasing toys in bulk and packing them up. Each gift-bag contains a toy, stationery, a juice-box, colouring books and snacks. On Christmas Day, the team sets out for their chosen locality, playing Santa for hundreds of underprivileged children.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2014.
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