MONUMENT, Colo. — ‘Tis the season to be jolly, but it can be hard for some local children to enjoy the holidays while something is missing in their lives.
That’s why one high school junior from Monument started a local toy drive for kids with parents who are deployed over Christmas. This is something Olivia Tighe is too familiar with since her dad is usually deployed during the holidays.
This year, she’s spreading holiday cheer to children and families going through what hers has been through. She started a project, called Presents for Patriots, and is collecting Christmas toys to give to local kids who will be missing one or both of their parents this holiday season.
“Just know that you have so many people out there willing to help you. It’ll never be the same as them not being there, but just cherish the moments you have with them and don’t take anything for granted. Take as much time with them as possible because you never know when you’re parent is going to get deployed. But even if your parent is not there, just make it the best Christmas you can,” said Olivia Tighe.
Tighe has received enough donations to make this Christmas a bit brighter for 30 military families across southern Colorado. And with your help, she can reach even more families. Tighe is collecting new, unwrapped toys through the middle of December.
You can donate gifts for newborn babies and youngsters up to 18-years-old. Tighe will wrap all the presents and deliver them to local military families with parents currently serving overseas. Her hope is to help relieve a little stress while showing these kids they have a support system.
“Most of the kids that we have gifts for were given to us by a point of contact at the Peterson Air Force Base, the Air Force Academy, and Schriever Air Force Base. They told us the age and gender of the families that have one or both parents who are deployed,” said Tighe.
Tighe, who is also a Girl Scout, will earn her Girl Scout Gold Award for the work she’s done on the Presents for Patriots project. She’s dedicated close to 80 hours spreading the word, gathering gifts and making sure every military family gets something special this Christmas.
“I don’t care how many hours as long as everybody gets their gift and everybody gets what will help them have an awesome Christmas,” said Tighe.
Tighe’s project advisor, Juan Gutierrez with VFW Post 7829, says Presents for Patriots is making a huge impact on our local military servicemembers and their families.
“This is something that will alleviate their stress level and give them one less thing to worry about,” said Gutierrez. He adds, “The Girl Scout’s Gold Award is not a common thing known and they don’t get much recognition. I think this is going to be a great example for Girl Scouts that are pursuing their Gold Award to be more involved with the community.”
Presents for Patriots collection drop boxes can be found at: Steller Styles, RE/MAX Properties Monument, Hamula, Palmer Ridge and Lewis Palmer High Schools, Arlene’s Beans, VFW Post 4051 & Post 101.
Tighe also has an online gift registry that will help her reach of goal of getting a present to as many children as possible who will have parents serving overseas this holiday season. You can check out that registry at https://www.walmart.com/lists/view-events-registry-items?id=86794215-da42-4389-8f9c-0856ebeb15ef.
She’s hosting a gift wrapping party on December 1st at 1:00pm at the Monument Chamber of Commerce. Anyone is invited to join in and help Tighe, along with other volunteers, wrap all the donated toys.
All military families and their loved ones are invited to attend the Presents for Patriots celebration on December 14th at the Woodmoor Barn at 5pm. In the true spirit of Christmas giving, Tighe will send dozens of families home with bright smiles, holiday cheer and something special to look forward to on Christmas morning.