Children’s laughter mingled with Christmas music, drifting past a Christmas tree adorned in red, white, and blue. Transformed by a heartwarming celebration and toy giveaway, the Veterans View Intake Center (VVIC) hosted a small Christmas party on Saturday, December 16th, for local families in need.
VVIC, a transitional facility for homeless veterans, gave away presents to 60 children this Christmas season in partnership with Toys for Tots. While a little over half of the gifts were traditional Toys for Tots donations, VVIC wanted children to feel extra love this Christmas, supplementing donations with additional presents purchased on behalf of private donors. As Toys for Tots is designed for children twelve and under, VVIC also wanted to ensure teenagers weren’t left out this holiday.
But VVIC didn’t stop there, continuing to raise the bar with its impact within the community. The center sought out mothers most in need this holiday season. In addition to the children, the center presented gifts to 20-21 young mothers, mostly single moms.
The Christmas celebration was an intimate gathering at VVIC’s new facility in Mocksville, with plenty of hot chocolate, apple cider, and homemade cookies to go around.
The gathering represents the first annual Christmas toy giveaway, as VVIC hopes to host it again next year. And while toy giveaways during Christmas typically benefit young children undergoing hardship, it’s uncommon to see parents as lucky holiday recipients.
Nichole Richardson, marketing and operations manager, shared her thoughts. “We don’t want parents to feel discouraged. We want them to know we appreciate their hard work.”
Given that VVIC’s clients often have existing health concerns, the center has relationships with healthcare providers in hospice, home care, Medicaid and Medicare caseworkers. VVIC leveraged this network of providers, using their help to find low-income families in the community that needed extra joy this Christmas.
Attendees mingled and laughed on Saturday as kids munched on cookies, eagerly awaiting their chance to pick up their toys. Each mother was welcomed in for a hug before collecting their gifts.
“We want y’all to feel loved. This is all for you. The women here today will also receive gifts because you all are the backbone for these children,” shared Richardson.
Families exchanged hugs with VVIC volunteers
Mothers received Bath and Body Works lotions & gels, fuzzy socks, purses, and spa treatment kits, while kids picked up bags filled with scooters, nerf guns, trucks, and dolls.
Families were touched, with one mother sharing – “I thank y’all, each and every one of you, for thinking of us. It means a lot.”
VVIC wants to continue assisting these families into next year. The center hopes to stay in touch at least twice a year so these mothers know they have an ongoing support network. VVIC is interested in doing a giveback during another holiday, perhaps next Mother’s Day.
Attendees were also encouraged by Regina Bass, who wished everyone a happy holiday, noting that she would be starting up a mentorship program, which every mother was invited to join.
“Where some of y’all are, I’ve been there. I spent 10 years in the military then found myself surfing couches. I want you to know y’all are strong. And this too shall pass,” shared Bass.
Each day you wake up, show yourself some grace and love. As much as we show up for other people, show up for yourselves.
“Anything you need, we’re here for it. We’re a support system,” she said.
As hugs, presents, and “happy holidays” were shared, families left VVIC with more than just gifts this Christmas. Attendees were warmed by VVIC’s hot apple cider alongside their words of encouragement, knowing that they have a support system to lean on into the coming new year.
Based in Mocksville, NC, the Veterans View Intake Center (VVIC) provides comprehensive support and care, addressing veterans’ diverse challenges and ensuring they thrive in their post-service lives. VVIC employs a holistic approach to veteran support. Its services span housing, healthcare, education, entrepreneurship, and bridging the gap between veteran and civilian communities. For more information, call (704) 238-5050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.