RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - You can make this Christmas better than the last for homeless children here in the Richmond area.
It's kick-off day for Andre Neita's annual toy drive. The business owner is opening up storage space and working hard to collect donations to benefit "Home Again," a non-profit that puts families in temporary housing and helps them to eventually move into their own homes.
"Home Again" is grateful for Neita and the spark he creates that inspires people who are shopping for their own families to purchase presents for children who're living through a tough time.
Homeless families typically don't know what to expect when Christmas comes. For many, the holiday is another layer of stress.
Your generosity gives children a break and allows them a chance to be children for a moment.
Winter Jenkins received Christmas gifts last year and says, "I picked up a baby doll because I love baby dolls."
Dania Rawlings was also a beneficiary and says, "I was excited. I thought I was going to grab everything."
Neita's Toy Drive grew out of his own humble background. This is his 6th year working to put smiles on kid's faces at Christmas.
"Unfortunately, I went without Christmas for a year or two when I was a child, so I do understand what it's like not to have, and I do understand what it's like to have and to give, and that's why I try to give back to the community," said Neita.
Home Again is the perfect beneficiary, because it supports struggling parents and gives an entire family renewed hope.
"When families come to us, they come to us a lot of times with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Even outside of the holidays, we are helping people with their basic needs," said Executive Director Lorae Ponder.
Home Again serves about 800 people every year. That includes families, men, women, veterans and children from infants to middle school age. Adults needing help often have jobs, but they don't earn enough to sustain themselves.
Holding his own little girl, Neita shares why the toy drive is so important.
"The sparkle in their eyes when they do receive the donations. The sparkle in their parents' eyes and how happy their parents are just to have somebody to help them," said Neita.
Donations of new, unwrapped toys, and gifts such as blankets, sheets, coats, diapers, household items will help. You can drop off your donations at Professional Moving and Storage on Station Road, 2209 Station Road, Richmond, VA. 23234 or call 804- 291-3543 and arrange pick up. You can make donations through Dec. 20.
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