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Images & Voices of Hope | December 2, 2020

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BuzzFeed helps children in need, captures it on video

BuzzFeed helps children in need, captures it on video

In a video published last week, BuzzFeed asked a group of children to describe toys they’d like to give to kids in need.

“This holiday, we wanted to make sure disadvantaged kids at a local home got the perfect gift,” the video says. “So we brought in a bunch of experts…”

The young experts didn’t have any trouble coming up with ideas: A monster doll with green hair. A teddy bear holding a present. A fart gun.

BuzzFeed asked toy-maker Joshua Bramer to make the toys the children described. The toys were later delivered to children at the Alexandria House, a transitional residence for mothers and their children. BuzzFeed filmed children at the residence opening their gifts and showed the footage to the children who came up with the gift ideas. Their expressions, which you can see in the video, are priceless.

“It’s nice to give someone a gift because it makes you feel good and it makes them feel good,” one of the children says.

BuzzFeed’s Andrew Gauthier, who came up with the idea for the video, delivered the gifts to the Alexandria House. Before divvying out the gifts, he and other BuzzFeed video producers spent time with the children to get a better sense of which gifts they would like. He decided to give footballs to the boys he had been playing basketball with earlier in the day, and he gave the monster doll to a little girl who told him she loves drawing monsters.

Gauthier wanted the video to spark a conversation about giving — rather than receiving — gifts around the holidays. Giving gifts is “the best part of the holiday season,” he said. “The goal was to make something that would resonate with people emotionally and … make them want to pass on this message.”

He thinks the video is a good reminder that it doesn’t take a lot of time or resources for journalists to make a difference.

“A relatively small gesture can have a major impact,” Gauthier said. “We gave toys to about a dozen disadvantaged kids, and in doing that and making a video about it, we were able to get the message out that it’s good to give.”

As more people get and share news via social media, “you see heartfelt stories and inspiring stories being more and more prominent,” Gauthier said. “Nobody’s going to share on a Facebook feed a story about a terrible homicide, but people are really interested in sharing stuff that resonates with them — stuff that’s positive and inspiring.”

Recent research shows that people are increasingly sharing upbeat stories on social networking sites. A Time magazine story about the research says: “The recipe for attracting visitors to stories online is changing. Bloggers have traditionally turned to sarcasm and snark to draw attention. But the success of sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy, whose philosophies embrace the viral nature of upbeat stories, hints that the Web craves positivity.”

The BuzzFeed video has already been viewed more than 1 million times and shared hundreds of times on social media.

“Giving back is so important,” one Twitter user said in response to the video. “We need more of this in the world.”

Have story ideas you want to share with us? Email them to ivoh managing director Mallary Tenore or share them with us on Twitter (@ivohMedia).