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Westchester County Social Services Gift Drive Aims To Make Sure Older Kids, Teens Don't Feel Left Out

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- During the holiday season, the mission for some is making sure every child has a gift to open.

Finding toys for kids is easy, but older kids and teenagers may feel left out. Officials in Westchester County are making sure that doesn't happen.

The most popular toy drive gift is the stuffed animal for kids up to 7, but the Westchester Department of Social Services' gift drive covers kids all the way to age 18.

"We see people in the worst times of their life. I wanted one day where you got something from the county and social services and it wasn't so negative," said Barbara Sabater, with Westchester County Social Services.

Sabater started the program 16 years ago. She's helping the 400 children in foster care and another 400 in homeless shelters. The biggest need is for teenagers.

"It's just one day where you get something, whether it's impractical, whether it's silly, it's not a practical thing because your family can't afford anything else," Sabater told CBS2's Steve Overmyer.

Buying for teens can be intimidating, but keep in mind how they interact with the world. For less than $50, you can get Bluetooth headphones or even some Bluetooth earbuds. Every teen needs a pocket charger, but they also love to share their music with a portable speaker.

Holidays can be special for kids of all ages.

"We can all remember that one Christmas morning where we got that gift. Mine was that ballerina doll," Sabater said.

"I got the Millennium Falcon," Overmyer said.

"There you go!" Sabater said.

"Best year ever," Overmyer said.

For under $50 you can find something practical, like a tumbler to keep their drink cool or a jewelry box or a video streaming device. Maybe you'll find something fun like a mini drone or a mini basketball hoop or even a jellyfish lamp.

"When you give something, I've seen the kids just like, 'ooh, I got it!'" Sabater said.

The gift is not about the material thing. It's about positive emotions and spreading joy even if it is anonymous.

If you would like to donate, a collection bin will be placed on the first floor of the Westchester County Office Building at 148 Martine Avenue. Other collection locations include the DSS District Offices located at:

Central Office
112 East Post Road, White Plains

Mount Vernon District Office
100 East First Street, Mount Vernon

Peekskill District Office
750 Washington Street, Peekskill

White Plains District Office
85 Court Street, White Plains

Yonkers District Office
131 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers


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