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The Dream Center continues to be one of the brighter spots in the city during trying times.

Published 12/02/2020 | Reading Time 5 min 21 sec 

By BWSTimes Staff 

TULSA, Okla. — On a cold December late afternoon in 2019, the sunlight dimming below the horizon, an 8-year-old beauty named Olivia joyfully walked into the Tulsa Dream Center with her mother on the far north side of town. Even in the midst of receiving unfortunate news from her pediatrician, a cancer diagnosis, the little ebony angel beamed her large brown eyes at the mountain of Christmas presents towering towards the ceiling in the Center’s gymnasium. The Center’s Program Director, Tim Newton, said it’s a Christmas he’ll never forget.

“She [Oliva] came with her mom. Her mom was having some health issues as well,” he said.

Newton shared that the mother and daughter didn’t have plans for the approaching holiday due to falling on hard times. The mother’s health challenges made it impossible to work. Bills were tight. And it is the reason why they attended the Tulsa Dream Center’s annual Toy Run. 

In our interview, Newton shared that they received groceries, enough to make a Christmas dinner, Oliva receiving a toy. But not just any toy, an American Doll; a luxury toy, prized between $60 and $115. 

Newton found the little girl and her in tears. “What’s wrong?” He asked. 

Bright-eyed Olivia turned her small face upward, eyes filled with tears of joy, and said to Newton, “This is what I always wanted.” Her mother, adding, “This is what she had been asking for. And I told her that ‘Mommy couldn’t afford it this year'”. 

Newton said the probability of Olivia receiving the gift she had hoped for was improbable, one in 6,000 presents donated last year to the Tulsa Dream Center.

Newtown said it’s the Christmas Toy Run he’ll never forget.

Due to the 2020 pandemic, Christmas will be especially hard to pull off for many families as businesses shutter and employees are furloughed or laid off. Nevertheless, The Dream Center continues being one of the brighter spots during these trying times, severing over 3 million meals; that number climbing drastically day by day as families experience the fallout from COVID-19 restraints. 

Although the virus has dimmed Christmas for many across the Nation, it’s not stopping the Tulsa Big Wheels & Car Club, and the Gathering Place from partnering with the Tulsa Dream Center in its 8th Annual Toy Run this coming Sunday, December 6.  

Partners will meet at the Gathering Place south parking lot (3300 Riverside Drive, Tulsa, OK 74105) at 1:15 p.m. At promptly 2:00 p.m, the Tulsa Dream Center will begin their annual Toy Run as they drive from the Gathering Place to North Tulsa, dropping off toys, on a route that will ultimately end at the Dream Center. This year, the Dream Center hopes not only to increase the number of children who receive gifts but also the volume of giving.

The Tulsa Dream Center will be accepting toys until Christmas, though they are asking for donations on or before December 17, so gifts may be wrapped. A to-go bowl of chili will also be provided to those dropping off toys at the Tulsa Dream Center.

Details of the Toy Run are as follows:

  • No weapons (guns, knives, nunchucks, etc.) or stuffed animals will be accepted.
  • $10 & up in price for either boy or girl, ages 18 and below
  • The target age is 5 to 12-year-old boys & girls.
  • Local businesses can be drop off locations for the Toy Drive.

Tulsa Dream Center has a goal of raising 10,000 toys so that each child may receive not one but two gifts each!

For those interested in volunteering, there will be opportunities available:

  • November 30-December 4, 2020: Set up for sorting & wrapping
  • Monday, December 7, 2020: Toy Sorting by age
  • December 7-11, 2020: Scheduled wrapping opportunities
  • December 14-18, 2020: Scheduled wrapping opportunities
  • December 17-18: Relocate gifts to a lower level of TDC to prepare for Saturday
  • Saturday, December 19, 2020 (9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.): Christmas Celebration

Donations online are accepted at For more information, feel free to contact Programs Director Tim Newton at 918-430-9984 or email

The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...