Toys for Needy Families

Toys for Needy Families

About 100 needy families had a brighter Christmas this year thanks to the efforts of the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce, which conducted its annual toy and children's outerwear drive.

For the past two months, many member businesses served as drop-off locations. The recipients of the gifts were 200 children whose families are tenants of Good Shepherd Housing & Family Services.

Amparo O’Connell was responsible for coordinating the distribution, which occurred this past week at Gum Springs Community Center. Helping her was Olisa Uniqwe, a Mount Vernon High School student, Emily O’Connell, a Bishop Ireton student, Andrew Stearman a Hayfield Secondary School student, along with Mark O’Connell, Mattie Palmore, Semira Negasi and David Negasi.

“We are appreciative for each and every business that hosted a drop box, as well as their employees and customers that cared enough to donate to a child in need,” said Shannon Steene, executive director of Good Shepherd Housing & Family Services. “When items began arriving at our offices last week, the community's generosity was once again evident. Thanks to everyone that donated toys, coats, hats and gloves.”

All the donations were part of the Children's Resource program.

"Children's Resource makes sure that the children are not forgotten or denied opportunities, simply because their families are in a tough spot," Steene said. "The program provides social, educational and recreational opportunities throughout the year to children whose families could not otherwise afford them.”