RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A group is making sure the children of murder victims won't have a dark Christmas.
Five-year-old Paris and 2-year-old McKenzie are busy lugging gifts like teddy bears, baby dolls and ponies. That's the goal for their mom, Quadeja James. She wants to keep her little girls giddy while they spend their first holiday without their father.
"It's overwhelming. It's been a lot," James said.
Their father, 24-year-old Antoine Smith, was shot and killed Thursday.
The girls are just two of hundreds of kids benefiting from the Ricky Johnson and Friends Foundation.
It provides Christmas gifts to needy children, kids with incarcerated parents, sick children, etc. all year round. The foundation is especially busy now, when people are reminded of past time spent with lost loved ones.
"When we heard the news of the passing of their father, we thought, you still got a lot of dads and the Ricky Johnson and Friends Foundation," said Ricky Johnson, the organization's founder and namesake. "We wanted to stop them and say 'we're a family too,' and let them know—no matter what you're going through, we can be here for you," Johnson said.
James welcomes the distraction, because in that moment, the girls could play like kids should…blissfully.
The foundation will hand out presents again this Christmas Eve at the Holiday Inn on Cary Street.
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