12 ON YOUR SIDE: Christmas toy drives for homeless children

Published: Oct. 8, 2013 at 9:44 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 8, 2013 at 9:56 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Two businesses started toy drives Tuesday to put toys in the hands of children who may otherwise feel left out at Christmas.

Children and their parents living in a homeless shelter will benefit.

'Home Again' is providing people with a roof over their heads and resources to grow healthy families. The non-profit is helping Michele Wilson rise from a low point.

"It's sad when you wake up and you don't have nothing for your kids," said Wilson. "That makes a kid feel kind of bad."

Michele is thankful to business owners Anton Cofield of Antonz Family Salon and Andre Neita of Professional Moving and Storage, who are both working to make miracles for children - homeless, but still hopeful, thanks to Home Again.

"They have approximately 75 to 100 kids that we are trying to provide toys for, so any unused toys from any age range, from infants to 14 or 15, anything they can donate to us would be appreciated," said Neita.

"Look at the news and understand what's going on around you and understand that could be you," said Cofield.

The non-profit runs a tight ship, and the child services coordinator who met with me admits lifting broken families and teaching self encouragement and motivation require many helping hands.

"The contributions will uplift the children," said Jolinda Underwood. "It's also going to uplift the parents and inspire them to continue to strive to do better to get on their feet."

This is Cofield and Neita's fourth toy drive. They hope to fill a 40-foot trailer with new, unwrapped toys for kids of all ages. Great news for another mother living at Home Again.

"They thought enough of someone who is less fortunate than them to give toys to," said Amelia Beale. "And that's a blessing."

There are two drop-off locations:

Professional Moving and Storage
2209 Station Road, Richmond, VA
(804) 291-3543

Antonz Family Salon
3412 Semmes Avenue, Richmond, VA

The business owners hope the community comes out strong. They say a child's smile is the greatest gift of all at Christmas.

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