Family receives help for Christmas

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The holiday was looking bleak for a disabled grandmother who couldn't provide Christmas for two grandsons. Two families and a big business stepped up to help them.

"Tell them thanks so much and may God forever bless them for considering other people and their needs," said Betty Barner.

That's Betty Barner's "Thank you" to strangers who saw NBC12's report last Tuesday. Certain items on the boy's Christmas wish list resonated with them.

"I am an artist. I can draw. I am a real artist," said 9-year-old Rodney Johnson.

Austin Bergman and his wife, the artist, compiled a starter kit with art supplies, canvasses, and an easel. Rodney will get them Christmas morning. We gave the gifts to his grandfather Wednesday.

Another family motivated to help, the Quivers...specifically, Santa. The hair stylist shares the same spelling as Father Christmas but says her name differently. Santa packed up her kids' brand new Wii system and games for 5-year-old Rahiem when she heard his wish. Santa even threw in a TV.

Diane Walker: "It's beginning to feel a little like Christmas now."
Betty Barner: "Yes it is."

Betty didn't believe it could get any better, until we ended up at Walmart. The Mechanicsville store manager sent her shopping.

Store Manager Erik Alexander: "It's $500."
Betty Barner: "$500. Oh my gosh! Thank you so much. I could just jump up in this chair. We appreciate it so much because I didn't have any money this year because I was sick due to kidney failure."

Betty's disabled, on dialysis and totally devoted to the grandsons she's raising. So much so, she put the district and store managers to work.

"We're really happy to help out one of our own customers that actually shops in our store each week help the grand children out," said Erik Alexander.

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