RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Toys are tokens of hope in tough times for homeless children. As we approach the season of giving, the owner of a local moving company is doing what he does every year, and that's working hard to collect toys and clothes and putting them in the hands of kids at Christmas.
Christmas is only 56 days away and people who put 'giving' at the top of their Holiday list are already looking for families and causes to support.
Andre Neita's business acumen is evident in how he runs his company Professional Moving & Storage, which is big on customer service and consistently giving back. His annual toy drive grew out of his own humble background, and he knows what it's like to be in need and to have plenty. "It has to be sad and very upsetting just knowing that other kids got [it], but yet I didn't. Again, it's not the price of the toy. It's just the good deed. It can be from $1 to $100 or it can be a donation to home again."
Home Again is a non-profit helping homeless men, women and children get back on their feet and in a home again. "I picked up a baby doll because I love baby dolls." Winter Jenkins said last year. Dania Rawlings was also excited over what she saw last year. "I was excited. I thought I was going to grab everything."
An anonymous donor helped launch the Toy Drive this year with a $1,000 check. "We immediately gave it to Home Again. It was a good donation to start off the Christmas drive," Neita says.
Over the years he's helped Saint Joseph's Villa, another non-profit dedicated to helping families. Children in Richmond public housing have also received Christmas gifts.
The 2015 Toy Drive goal is to provide bicycles, toys, games, clothes, books, music, computers and small appliances to help Home Again. Knowing Neita, kids outside the program will have gifts to open too. He's asking for new, unwrapped gifts for little ones through age 18. The plan is to have them ready for delivery by December 20.
"Our children don't know what to expect when their families are in crisis and they see their parents struggling to pay bills and to meet their basic needs. We definitely were able to relieve that anxiety and stress for parents during the holiday season to provide for their children, and, of course, the kids had a ball receiving the gifts," Jolinda Underwood with Home Again says.
You can d rop off your new, unwrapped gifts starting Friday at Professional Moving & Storage, 2205 Station Road, in Chesterfield between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. You can send a monetary donation to that same address.
They plan to deliver the gifts on December 20.
Copyright 2015 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.