Plant City organizations make sure that others have a Merry Christmas
Christmas couldn’t have come any sooner for many Plant City kids during last year’s holiday season.
Once again, the Plant City Kiwanis Club held its annual Christmas for an Angel program – donating toys to underprivileged children.
“This has been going on for over 30 years,” said Sharon Moody, governor of the Plant City Kiwanis Club. “We just enjoy giving from the heart, especially this time of the year when people can’t afford to do things that they need to do for their children.”
The club reaches out to the guidance counselors of 18 Hillsborough County elementary schools to determine which students could use the donations most.
Christmas for an Angel received sponsorship and assistance from Stingray Chevrolet, Progressive Insurance, South Florida Baptist Hospital, Star Distribution Systems, the Plant City Noon Rotary Club, and Winn-Dixie.
As a result, over 3,500 toys were collected – enough for each student chosen to receive multiple gifts.
The Plant City High School Key Club helped to bag the assorted toys. On Monday, Dec. 13, Stingray Chevrolet employees helped to distribute the early Christmas gifts.
Of the volunteers, Moody said that “they’re honored to do it because they feel there’s a need. They don’t want a child to go without for Christmas.”
However, the charitable work didn’t stop there – it continued at the Sadye Gibbs Martin Community Center.
On Saturday, Dec. 18, the local Kiwanis Club, along with the Key Club, helped hand out more goodies sponsored by Cathy and Larry Jimenez of Star Distribution Systems.
Outside of the community center, youth were spread out across the field waiting for their ticket number to be called and to claim their heavy bags of toys.
And a row of bicycles were on display for another raffle.
Moody stated that it’s been financially hard for parents to provide their kids with a special Christmas, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic took away jobs.
“It’s so amazing,” said Cadori Bellamy. “I’m just so ecstatic right now that complete strangers will help.”
She is a single mother of three kids, who she said were counting down the days until Christmas.
Odin tagged along with his grandmother Kathy Coston, ready to get his gifts.
The 6-year-old not only received a bag of toys, but also a brand, new bike.
“It’s good because his dad is in the service,” said Coston. “I’d like him to have a good Christmas even though his father is not here.”
However, there was a big kid who was presented with her own gift on the same day.
Twana Rivers was given her very first car, courtesy of Stingray Chevrolet.
“It totally surprised me,” she said. “I never had transportation. I had been walking to work and just walking really everywhere. I’m so blessed and so humbled for it.”
And the Unity in the Community organization wanted to make sure that many had a holiday feast, so they donated $30,000 to Meals on Wheels at the local Winn-Dixie.
All this because Plant City’s organizations wanted to know that many of its residents could have a very Merry Christmas, too.