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How families in need can still get Christmas help

Posted at 7:39 PM, Nov 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-23 20:46:00-05

RICHMOND, Va. --The holidays just won’t be the same for Andy and Jasmine Pennington, not without their ten year old daughter Amber.

She passed away in October, from a rare form of brain cancer, while holding hands with her fifteen year old brother and 7 year old sister.

“Her sister was singing Amazing Grace,” Andy explained with tears in his eyes.

The Chesterfield father is a certified plumber who lost his job months before Amber’s death. Since then he hasn’t been able to find another. That frustration just adds to the grief he’s dealing with right now.

As the holidays approach, he says there’s one thought that he and his wife can’t bear. That is them not being able to provide Christmas gifts for their two remaining children.

“They have just been through so much; they’ve lost so much,” Andy said. “They’ve lost their sister and their best friend. My children may wake up on Christmas day and lose Christmas too.”

He said their family has had tremendous support from church members and friends while Amber fought cancer. They don’t want to have to ask the same group of friends for anything else, because they’ve already been so generous.

Faced with mounting bills and trying to maintain their household after this tragedy, the
family created a GoFundMe page to raise donations.

These are the kinds of families some area organizations are looking to help.

The non-profit Antionette V. Irving Foundation continues to take family referrals for toys and other holiday assistance.

Also, organizers at Radio One say families still have a week to apply for holiday help.

Miss Community Clovia says Radio One will collect thousands of donated toys during a huge three-day toy drive. They will istribute the gifts to families who send in letters by the November 30 deadline.

The letters must be sent to the following address by November 30.

Radio One Toy Drive
2809 Emerywood Parkway, Suite 300
Richmond, VA 23294

Lawrence says parents who apply should include their full name, address and phone number in the letter.

They must also include the sex and age of the children who will receive the gifts.

Once the families are selected, Lawrence say they will receive a letter in the mail for the toy distribution day; that will be held at a secret location.

Another area non-profit group that is still accepting referrals include the Antionette V. Irving Foundation:

P.O. Box 23031
Richmond, Va 23222
804-350-2554

The William’s Christmas Kids Foundation is working with 17 different Chesterfield churches to provide toys for children this Christmas. They are also working with the Chesterfield Head Start. That program, run by Bill Jones is still accepting monetary and toy donations for his Christmas Giveaway.

To contact the William’s Christmas Kids Foundation, call 804-201-4553.