KILLEEN, TX — Earlier this week, we brought you a story about a local non-profit that made Christmas happen for one single mom and her five children. Representatives with the organization tell 25 News that after that story aired, their phones were ringing off the hook.
The AYADD Outreach Youth Center works year-round to make sure every day feels like Christmas for the Killeen community. Normally they only sponsor one family for the holidays, but with so many of our neighbors struggling due to the pandemic, they exhausted all of their resources to help one more.
“These two families that came to us in the last three days are just a way of showing compassion and once again for the community,” said Sandra Minor, executive director of the AYADD Outreach Center.
With a year unlike any other, Minor knows the hardships many in our community face every day. After hearing Melissa Burney’s story, she had to help.
"It’s a lot that’s involved, you know, due to COVID and being evicted, almost being evicted, utilities being cut off," said Burney.
Just like Sandra Daniels, a single mother of five Minor helped just say ago, 2020 pushed Burney to her breaking point. Despite facing one hurdle after another, Burney maintains her optimism for her three kids. The support she’s gotten from the AYADD and other community members brings her to tears.
“Everybody is not so eager to help. It’s just a lot,” said Burney.
“It’s a little less on my plate to put a little more on her plate," said James Elzie, president of the Omicron Pi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Elzie says it's more than giving Burney and her kids a memorable Christmas. It's about ensuring Burney is in a position to be successful.
“We’re not there to put a hand out, but a hand up. We want to just provide for the community and her family and make sure they have a great Christmas, but also put some tools in the toolbox that will suffice her in the near future,” Elzie said.
Even 8-year-old Jace stepped up, donating one of his favorite toys! Although her organization specializes in preventative measures surrounding drinking and driving, Minor says the giving spirit is always on her heart.
“You never should limit yourself. If you are resource for the community, don’t limit yourself because you never know what difference you’re going to make if you do that,” said Minor.
Burney not only received food, a tree, and Christmas gifts for her kids, but also $500 and a computer donated to ensure she can work from home given her medical condition.