December 21, 2010; Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution | There may be no Santa Claus (apologies to any NPQ readers who didn’t know that) but in Atlanta the next best thing is City of Refuge. The nonprofit came to the rescue of another local group, Hosea Feed the Hungry, which had promised to give away more toys to needy children than it managed to collect.

Instead of making a list and checking it twice, the group let their list balloon to some 2,000 names. That number, combined with an already overwhelming demand for toys, left the organization in a potentially embarrassing situation. We don’t know if City of Refuge rode to the rescue on a sleigh with Rudolph in the lead, but the effect was just the same.

The charity donated some 700 additional toys to be distributed at the Hosea Feed the Hungry Christmas party this week. Among those breathing a sigh of relief is Miriam Ledesma, Hosea’s resource development director. “It’s been a difficult time for more than just a few people,” she said. “I don’t know what we would have told the kids.”

While the spirit of the season might be brightening faces at Hosea and of the children it serves, at least one other organization isn’t feeling the cheer yet, and is worried that the Grinch might steal its Christmas plans. The U.S. Marine Corps annual Toys for Tots drive needs about 900,000 toys this year. But at the start of the week, they were only slightly past the halfway mark at 590,000. Here’s hoping there’s still time for one of those many miracles that happen each holiday season.—Bruce Trachtenberg