This first day of December is also Giving Tuesday, and charities are scrambling more than ever to respond to an unusual holiday season admist another pandemic surge. One of those charities is The Wonderfund, a nonprofit that supports children who are involved with the Mass. Department of Children and Families. Lauren Baker, First Lady of Massachusetts and Vice-Chair of Wonderfund, joined Joe Mathieu today on Morning Edition to discuss their efforts to bring holiday cheer to 50,000 kids this year.

As the state confronts crises of unemployment and hunger, children in difficult home situations are experiencing hardship on a unique level. “These kids have endured some tough situations in their lives already, so they feel the impact of the stress and anxiety and isolation of this pandemic really intensely,” Baker says. “The need is always there, and unfortunately the pandemic and shutdown didn’t eliminate child welfare issues.”

Getting gifts to 50,000 kids across the state is a complicated logistical challenge, especially in a pandemic. To meet the extraordinary need this year, The Wonderfund is asking for donations to purchase gift cards so that every child can pick out their own special gift. “They deserve to have those moments of holiday magic that every kid deserves," Baker says. "So we’re trying to reach every one of them.”

Baker and The Wonderfund have been working since August to make the Holiday Gift Drive a success. Now that it’s December, the pressure is on and The Wonderfund is close to meeting its goal of serving 50,000 kids. “We’ve had more donors than we’ve ever had before,” Baker says.

"The need is always there, and unfortunately the pandemic and shutdown didn't eliminate child welfare issues."

Anyone interested in helping this year's Holiday Gift Drive can visit to give or donate a gift card.