Christmas Box shelter desperate for summer donations

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SALT LAKE CITY — An emergency shelter for neglected and abused children in Utah is in need of summer donations.

The Christmas Box International supports more than 10,000 Utah children each year at three emergency shelters in Salt Lake City, Ogden and Moab, and during the summer months relies on donations to be dropped off.

"We are an emergency shelter that is open 365 days a year — pandemic, no pandemic, good economy, bad economy, there are always kids here," Celeste Edmunds, executive director of The Christmas Box International, said.

With its Christmas in July campaign, The Christmas Box International asked the community for help stocking up on summer and back-to-school essentials: shorts, T-shirts, swimsuits, sunscreen, hygiene kits, $50 Visa birthday gift cards, backpacks and school supplies.

"This is temporary emergency shelter care, so what would a child need if they didn't have anything — and that's what we ask for," Edmunds said.

Children staying at The Christmas Box House are often healing from trauma, according to Edmunds. Many have been removed from their homes in the middle of the night or with very little warning and arrive with only the clothing on their backs.

"You'll have an infant with a onesie on, or you have a little toddler with whatever they grabbed on their way out," Edmunds said. "You usually have a toddler boy with a pair of jeans they've quickly thrown on and that's going to be it."

When a child arrives at The Christmas Box House they get to pick out a new stuffed animal and a blanket, something they can immediately hold onto and call their own. They'll also get to spend time in the book room picking out new books they get to keep. They'll also receive new clothing and a hygiene kit.

"They get everything that they need when they come in and then they get everything they also need when they get placed in the next home," Edmunds explained.

Each day, The Christmas Box House in Salt Lake City cares for 12-16 children — from infants to teenagers. Some will stay for a few days, while others could end up staying for weeks, even months.

"It's a safe place where kids can come while the state can make a really good decision on where the kid goes next," Edmunds said.

Donations for The Christmas Box House are accepted Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at any of its three locations.

You can find more information on donations currently needed here.


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