‘Anything the community can give:’ 11th annual toy and supply drive to benefit families with Home Again
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Two Richmond businesses are teaming up during a season of giving, working to help local families during the holidays and beyond.
Professional Moving and Distribution and Junkyard Dawgz are collecting gifts and donations for families with the non-profit Home Again. Their fundraiser ends on Dec. 20.
“It’s about 30 families that are there and we try to get enough toys and just stuff to make them transition into their new homes so that they feel warmth and love around the Christmas season,” said Andre Neita, owner of Professional Moving and Distribution.
HomeAgain helps secure a safe place to live for people in the community experiencing homelessness. In 2021, it served 449 people across 290 households.
For 11 years, Neita has been hosting the drive. He says the goal is to help the families at Home Again beyond Christmas day.
The transitional part of this is really important because when Christmas passes, they still need things that they need to live with on a daily basis,” explained Neita. “So anything that the community can donate to give to these families just so they can have a warm place or just a smile on their face during these trying times. With the price of everything, with gas and food, the last thing they have to worry about is toys.”
Neita is working alongside his 6-year-old daughter and the company Junkyard Dawgz to raise money to buy gifts and household items, the companies are also collecting items, with drop-off locations until Dec. 20 at Sofa Design at 10753 Midlothian Turnpike Richmond, VA 23235 and Neita’s business, Professional Moving and Distribution at 4271 Carolina Ave, Richmond, VA 23222.
For families like Jzanerra Bailey, being able to see her joy on her children’s faces on Christmas is a gift in itself.
“My kid’s are girly girl. So they like doll babies and they do their hair. [One daughter] says, she wants to have her own salon,” said Bailey. “The boy, he loves dinosaurs and my eight year old--she loves Baby Yoda.”
Bailey has been living at Home Again’s shelter for more than a month.
“I came from Florida from a domestic violence situation,” she said.”
The mom of five was a Certified Nursing Assistant in Florida and is working to get back on track in Richmond.
“Everything’s been put on pause, but I’m looking for, Mrs. Moore [with HomeAgain] is helping [me] go back to CNA work. I love older people or helping people, period. My next step is actually getting back in school down here because I have my CNA license from Florida. I can’t use it here,” said Bailey.
She wants to work towards becoming an LPN and also get her kids into programs to help shape their future.
“[Just] to help their mindset. Mold it into ‘I could do this, I got this. I see my mom doing it, so let’s do it,’” Bailey explained.
Bailey is hopeful during the holiday season and is grateful to know people care to see her and her children succeed.
“God is still there, even though [some] doors are closed, God stood there with his angels beside Him. So I go through all of this and I look at it like, He is there,” said Bailey.
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