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Hack Away

Santa’s Little Hackers, were warmly welcomed, for the first time to the McKimmon Center here at NC State on October 22, 2016.  Chris Evans, who works with the company Tethis, and Dr. Joel J. Pawlak, Ph. D., associate professor in the Department of Forest Biomaterials here at NC State, helped facilitate this year’s recent  Santa’s Little Hackers event.    The basic principle of the program is to make simple modifications to children’s toys so that children with disabilities may play independently.  Santa’s Little Hackers project acts as a seasonal toy drive to make toys a  universal commodity.   The goal of this years combined effort with Colorado, was to reach 1,000 toys to give away.

A Toy for Every Child

Santa’s Little Hackers is an idea that was started by Steven and Deane Watson who reside in Westminster, Colorado.  It was a simple challenge after the couple found that buying adapted toys from specialty retailers was very expensive.  “We were walking through a local store and saw the same toy that we had seen online. Deane asked her husband if he could adapt that toy for their son Max, and he said, ‘I don’t see why not.”  Their goal is now to make sure every child who wants and needs an adaptable toy gets one.

Generosity is Key to the Success of “Hackers”

The charitable part of Santa’s Little Hackers is their unmatched generosity.  Events like these do not just depend on the generosity and donation of organizations like Santa’s Little Hackers, but also upon the generosity of toy donations, materials, boxes and volunteers to manufacture modified toys.  200 volunteers from around the triangle turned into ‘Santa’s helpers’ as they helped the big guy prepare these unique gifts for Christmas day.    Pratt Industries graciously agreed to supply 1500 boxes that would fit the “hacked” toys” perfectly, and each toy was paid for by donors who sponsor a toy through the Santa’s Little Hackers website.

A big thank you to all parties involved who made an event like this possible!

by guest blogger Chris Binon