RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Leading up to Christmas, many Central Virginia residents gave from the heart to help homeless children and their families. Hundreds of donations were delivered to the Home Again emergency shelter just in time.
Christmas most likely would have been dreary if not for compassionate givers who made this year’s toy drive a huge success.
“We saw children whose eyes lit up the moment they saw the toys and the smiles were huge. The parents were emotional. It was really really good." said Jolinda Underwood with Home Again shelter.
It’s impossible to name all the items that were collected and brought to Home Again two days before Christmas. Just know the proof is in the pictures and the heartwarming descriptions from the team that came together.
Professional Moving and Storage, Optima Health and Bang Bang Kickboxing launched the benefit drive to assist families in crisis during the holidays. It’s the drive’s 10th year and for the past four or so it has focused on helping homeless children at Home Again shelter in particular.
Francois Ambang, who owns Bang Bang Kickboxing, said, “I had a lot of boxes at the gym. It was great. I was surprised to see people come and give away a lot of stuff.”
Donations ranged from toys, home furnishings to toiletries. They were more than presents. The gifts boost the spirits and built confidence for children and their families in crisis.
Andre Neita, owner of Professional Moving and Storage, said, “It was really just a great year and it was heartwarming to see the kids and the families together before Christmas.”
Every toy received ended up in the hands of a homeless child. Every household item donated benefited a homeless family as they prepared to move back into their own homes, including Lia and her Dad Tracey.
“There are people that might not look like what you expect homelessness to look like that are in a crisis and I think the fact that they were bold and brave enough to share their story just really helped the viewers see the need," said Underwood.
Speaking to NBC 12 is their way of thanking each of you who dropped off a gift or household goods for your generosity.
“We wanted them to know that there’s a community of people in Richmond that may not know them by name but know them by circumstance ans want to help them,” said Underwood.
Home Again Shelter also received monetary donations which along with all the tangible items enable them to give presents and household items to families throughout the year.