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NEW YORK CITY — It’s the holiday season, and many children are writing to Santa in hopes of finding gifts under the tree, but for so many New York City public school students, that is not the reality.

Some New York City moms are making this season a little brighter, filling the sugar plum sled with gifts to deliver to students in need.

The Sled is fulfilling a modest wish list for more than 1,400 New York City students in need, many of them homeless from six different schools and six different shelters.

There’s been a significant increase in need this year because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a city with so much money, these simple desires were heartbreaking to Erika Hill, who started the toy drive with four other moms.

Students of all ages asked for a meal from McDonald’s, a pepperoni pizza, bed sheets and even bath towels.

In New York City alone, 114,000 students are homeless. That is 1 in 10 children, according to the Department of Education, with 85% of them Back or Hispanic.

Those are the numbers for the 2018-2019 school year. The pandemic has surely caused those numbers to spike this year.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez helped bring donations last year by retweeting about the sleds charitable mission.

The Sled is hoping they can bring the holiday spirit to more families with more help because even the smallest donation brings big cheer.

For more information or to help a child in need, visit