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MAKING A MARK: Peninsula nonprofit supports families for holiday season

THRIVE Peninsula is ensuring kids have presents to unwrap this Christmas and their parents feel the joy of providing them.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A faith-based nonprofit is making sure there's something under every tree this holiday season.

THRIVE Peninsula in Newport News helps people and families in financial hardship.

"Families come to us on the verge of eviction or utility cut-off," said Executive Director Angela York. "And we offer emergency financial assistance, one-on-one financial coaching, and then we have a robust food pantry on site."

The group is helping families buy presents this holiday season through the 'Let Christmas THRIVE' program.

"I kept hearing this theme, 'I don't know how I'm going to be able to supply a Christmas for my children,'" said Program Chair Dan Clark. "And so, now we're helping well over 400 children this year to have a joyful Christmas."

Clark said the program is not just for kids. It's a gift to parents, too.

"They have the joy of buying the present," said Clark. "They have the joy of wrapping it up and actually giving it and picking what they know their children will love."

THRIVE Peninsula hopes to raise more than $30,000 this year to provide gift cards for families in need.

"Every family who is a recipient of these cards has received aid from us because they couldn't pay a critical bill," said York. "And so, at the end of the year, how do you pay for Christmas? It's an extra expense. We wanted to make sure that they had Christmas morning that could be special and joyful."

The group is asking for community support to reach their goal so more kids can experience the magic of Christmas.

"We all need some hope and some cheer to warm up our spirits," said York.  

"It's important for these children to have gifts. And no child should go without that joy of being able to share that with their siblings, their family," said Clark. "Having children not be able to experience that was just something beyond my reality, and that's why we started this program."

The deadline to donate to the 'Let Christmas THRIVE' program is Friday, December 10th. Gift cards will be distributed to recipients as soon as possible to allow enough time for holiday shopping. Click here to donate.