Local group brings Christmas to families in need

Down for the Clause members embrace the holiday spirit.
Down for the Clause members embrace the holiday spirit.

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – With 25 days left until Christmas, a local group of friends is working to bring Christmas to eight families in need.

"I know how great it is to look at my son's face on Christmas, so to have to tell him, 'We're not having Christmas this year because Daddy lost his job, or Mommy can't provide,' – it would break my heart," said Leslie Neyland, member of the Down for the Clause group.

This group of friends realized last year that there are plenty of hearts breaking across the Glass City for that very reason during the holidays.

"We're all from the inner city," Timothy Pettaway explained. "We all come from places where our parents did everything that they could to give us everything that we needed. But we all know that we're on the fortunate side of things."

So they decided to get "down for the Clause." They emptied their own pockets, took donations from Facebook friends and others, and hit the stores to stuff stockings and put presents under the tree for six families in need last Christmas.

"It was like the most amazing shopping trip I've ever been on," Neyland said. "Because it wasn't about us, it was about other people."

They wrapped hundreds of boxes filled with toys, coats, dolls, and most importantly, the spirit of giving and Christmas.

"To see [the kids'] faces light up, and to know that it just came from Santa…I [as a parent] would just be so grateful that there's people out there that are just willing to do for others," said Jessica Pettaway.

Over the last year the cause has grown. Things have changed financially for some of the members, but it pushes them to want to bless others more.

"We give, we pray, and you know, we really didn't know how we were going to supply our own Christmas," said Aja Wright. "A lot of people ask me, 'Why are you doing this? Doing charity, when your own kids are the ones that are needing?' And I'm like, 'Because…my children at least know what Christmas is.'"

Down for the Clause is looking to help eight families this year, but they need to raise about $8,000 to make it happen. Donations can be made at www.downfortheclause.org.

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