Franklin County Children Services hosts the charitable party on Wednesday at Copious

Since 1963, the Franklin County Children Services’ Holiday Wish program has provided holiday gifts for about 180,000 children in need. But, until recently, there was a shortage of culturally specific items for African-American girls among the donations.

“We would have to hit the stores with gift cards,” recalled Holiday Wish Program Director Elizabeth Crabtree. “I’d go to Target and buy them out and my cart would be half full. ... I’d have a conversation with the store manager, [saying], ‘Your shelves do not reflect the population of Franklin County.’”

And among the gifts gathered at the West Mound Street office — about 6,000 children benefit annually — Community Outreach Liaison Valancia Turner remembers seeing one culturally specific book.

However, on a visit to the donation center after Thanksgiving, relevant gifts were already rolling in, including books like I Am Enough by Grace Byers and the always-popular Disney Princess Tiana doll.

That’s because the Black Girl Magic Toy Drive was created two years ago as part of Holiday Wish to cater to African-American girls, who represent 21 percent of children in FCCS. (African-American children and children of color comprise 55-57 percent total.)

To learn more about participating in the toy drive, continue reading Columbus Alive's story on the Black Girl Magic Toy Drive here.