Charlie Batch Hoping To Make Holiday Season Brighter For Thousands Of Local Kids

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A gloomy day at Steel Plaza failed to keep “Batch’s elves” from their appointed rounds.

The volunteers have distributed more than 30,000 toys to children, since ex-Steeler Charlie Batch and his foundation began collecting gifts for needy families in Allegheny County 10 years ago.

“We have 212 volunteers,” the former quarterback says. “And it’s just something that really, they believe in what we’re doing, and everyone supports what we’re doing. That’s what makes it humbling.”

People can drop gifts off through the window of a giant, inflatable “present” in the plaza.

Charlie Batch’s grandmother, Creola Bolden, helps keep the operation moving. She says this is one of many programs her grandson has started in the community where he grew up. They range from basketball camps to literacy.

“Instead of the guns in the hands, he wants the books in the hands,” she says. “So really and truthfully, he stays busy with projects like that.”

Volunteers eagerly keep the foundation programs going, year after year.

“It’s nice to see someone who cares about kids, somebody that the kids care about and respect,” says longtime volunteer Beatrice Barnett. “And he’s just done so much for the community, how can you say no?”

When they finish collecting Dec. 12, Batch’s elves will wrap the gifts themselves.

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