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The Clay family continues Christmas toy tradition

A little girl accepts the invitation from Santa Claus to sit on his lap and tell him how much it means to her to receive a new bicycle for Christmas at the “Toys For Kids That Santa Forgot” last year. This year Santa will be there once again as the guest of Rev. Norman Hairston Jr.

Clay family continues “Toys For Kids Santa Forgot” giveaway

It was the Mayor of Gary, the Late Rudy Clay, who saw the need to provide gifts for less fortunate children during the Christmas season. He did not want them to be left out. Now his son, Rudy Clay Jr. said he too is continuing his father’s tradition after witnessing a true case of sorrow.

Clay, Jr. said one day during the 2013 Christmas season he went to a local gas station and a girl outside asked if she could get a gallon of milk for her family. He told her no problem and offered her money, but she said she would rather he just buy the milk.

He said, “I bought her the milk and I watched her go across the street off into the darkness and enter a house. I said wow! Its Christmas time and I know she can’t afford any toys for her kids. It touched my heart. I went back to the station and saw her again coming out and saw a bag she had with some can food for her house in it. Once again she went back to that same house. I thought to myself this is probably the same vision my dad saw. It hit me how can she buy toys for her kids when she’s going to the gas station to get something for the house. It really touched my heart. I know my dad had seen this type of situation too and said he had to do something about this.”

Because of the vision that both Mayor Clay and his son had, “The Annual Toys for Kids that Santa Forgot (But God Remembered)” was started and continues. The Genesis Convention Center has been a channel for distributing toys, bikes and clothing to hundreds of needy families.

Clay Jr. said what really touched his heart was that incident which happened the first year he took over the giveaway after his father had passed. He said the kids really liked the bicycles but there was a little boy who was with his mother who came late for the giveaway.

He said, “They thought all of the bikes were gone, but I would always save a few for people who come late. They were looking around and I asked him if he got a bike and he said no. I went back and got a bike and rode it out to him and that little guy gave his mom a hi-five, started smiling and he had a snaggletooth. That just touched my heart and brought me to tears and that’s when I knew I had to continue my dad’s legacy.”

Clay Jr. said in just last year alone, the giveaway has been able to provide toys for 2,000 children that included over 100 bikes. There are hundreds of volunteers, donations are solicited and all the money received go to the children. Gifts are provided to children ranging in ages from 3 months to 16 years old. The only requirement is that children must be accompanied by an adult.

Clay Jr. said he is continuing the tradition that his father started because he saw the love with his own eyes of the less fortunate children who might not receive gifts at Christmas time.

He said, “There are a lot of mothers out here raising children without the fathers and a lot of mothers receiving assistance that comes out on the first of the month, so by the 25th it’s gone. So to fill that need for children that don’t get a lot or nothing at all for Christmas is heartwarming for me.”

“Toys For Kids That Santa Forgot” will be held Saturday, December 26 at the Genesis Convention Center between the hours of 9 a.m. and 12 noon. Persons interested in volunteering should contact Rudy Clay Jr. at 1-888-699-0016 or email him at [email protected].

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