December 19, 2016 2:17 pm
Updated: December 19, 2016 2:41 pm

Children at Batshaw Youth and Family Centres have one wish this Christmas

WATCH ABOVE: Hundreds of letters to Santa flooded into Batshaw Youth and Family Centres this season, but most children want just one thing: their families back. Global's Kelly Greig reports.


If you’re looking for the true spirit of Christmas this year, look no further than Batshaw Youth and Family Centres.

The organization’s storage room is full of presents to hand out.

Hundreds of children wrote letters to Santa asking for one simple gift:

“Dear Santa, I’m 17-years-old. I’ve been in a group home for the past seven months,” starts one letter.

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“My mom was with my dad for a long time, but they fought all the time. I wish I could have saved my mom from my dad crying and being so sad,” wrote a six-year-old girl.

“I’m very upset and depressed because I’m away from home and I miss my mom very much,” wrote a teenager.

“Christmas this year won’t be the same because I won’t be with my mom.”

Frank Campanile, Batshaw’s own Santa Claus, has been organizing the event for 32 years.

READ MORE: Mères Noël: Montreal mothers on a mission to collect Christmas gifts for children

“It’s not the quantity that’s important, it’s just to get a gift,” he said.

“To get the feeling that someone is thinking about you and that someone cares.

“When I went to visit the different organizations and group homes, I don’t need to know who gets the gifts. I just want them to know I care.”

Batshaw plans to hand out 1,300 gifts this year, making an effort to personalize each present so the kids know Santa is listening.

“We have an 11-year-old getting a guitar – he loves music,” said social worker Eva Gabizon.

“What’s great about this campaign is we can be specific about what the kids want and what they need.”

The best gift of all, according to the organization, is delivering a little bit of comfort on Christmas.

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Presents will be delivered Monday to children across the island.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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