RICHMOND, Va. -- For Keyonya Toran becoming a mother has been life’s greatest gift, but the ability to help other mothers and their kids has become her greatest passion.
"I think this is my calling actually. I love to help kids," said Toran.
Last year, the Petersburg mother started a toy parade as a way to give back to the kids of her community.
"Me being a single mother, it’s other single mothers like me and waking up Christmas morning to nothing or struggling," she said. "It’s like mixed feelings, mixed emotions, so this is what I want to do."
She said last year's toy parade was a day full of bright smiles and big hugs as a line of cars and characters passed out toys in Petersburg.
From dolls to bikes, each toy unwrapped a smile.
"The kids came outside, and they were running," said Toran. "She says, this is for me? I was like yes this is for you, she said “Santa knows I’ve been good?” I said yes you have been good and she just hugged me, I turned around and the entire toy parade was crying."
The toy parade is back for this holiday season and Toran said she hoped to collect and deliver twice the amount of toys.
"Everybody don't have it, we all going through things, everything is rising, prices are rising," she said. "We need toys, no matter how big, no matter how small, a toy is a toy."
Despite her circumstances, Toran said there’s always room to give back.
"It makes me feel good," she said. "It just makes me feel better to know someone has a helping hand."
Toran said she needed the community's help in caring for the kids.
"Let’s make it magical for them let's make it happen, let's make them care," she said. "Santa is very real and he’s coming to town if I have anything to do with it. He will be here."
Toys can be dropped off at any of the below locations:
- A& J Taxes- 700 S Sycamore Street Suite 3
- The Doll House- 901 E Wythe Street
- Ettrick Deli - 3608 E River Road
- Sams Crab House - 4100 Jefferson Davis Highway
If you're unable to purchase toys you can donate through their fundraiser.
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