Franklin County Children Services seeks culturally-specific toy donations

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A toy drive just for African-American girls. That’s the idea behind the Black Girl Magic Holiday Drive Wednesday.

Franklin County Children Services said many of the kids they serve rarely get gifts that look like them. Organizers are asking for culturally specific toys and books that black girls can connect and relate with.

Frieda McKarn, 67, still remembers the gift she got when she was just eight years old.

“I can remember the first black doll I got. And, it was important because it let me know there was someone out there like me,” said McKarn.

McKarn is known as the head elf in a Santa workshop of sorts where Franklin County Children Services will give out gifts to 6,000 kids this Christmas. She said toys and gifts tailored for black girls are rarely seen on the shelves.

“What gets me choked up is that I see or children struggling to identify and thinking that they’re not worthy and they are,” said McKarn.

This is the first year for the Black Girl Magic Holiday Drive started by Eboni Partlow. She said many girls can’t relate to much of what’s sold in stores.

“You have to think about the message that they receive from society at large. A lot of times our black girls aren’t getting the message that the standard of beauty looks like you,” said Partlow with Franklin County Children Services.

Partlow is hoping for culturally specific donations including books featuring African-American characters, hair care products, dolls and clothes. McKarn said those who donate are doing so much more for a child than just giving them a present.

“You’re giving them something to associate with. You’re giving them the feeling that someone thinks I’m worthy enough,” said McKarn.

The toy drive is Wednesday from 6-8 PM at Copious Restaurant, 520 South High Street in Columbus. Or, you can donate at Franklin County Children Services Monday-Friday 8am-5pm.

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