Nonprofit brings Christmas joy

Photo by Garrett Garms

Nonprofit brings Christmas joy
December 16
13:09 2020

The holiday season can be a tough time for a family when funds are tight. COVID-19 has placed many Forsyth County residents in this trying predicament. But thanks to Rasheeda Shankle and Honorable Youth Inc. (HYI), some struggling families will have something to smile about Christmas morning.

On Saturday, Dec. 12, HYI held a drive- through Christmas toy drive to collect as many toys as possible to distribute to needy families. They also distributed donated toys to children enrolled in their Angel Tree Program.

“Today we are just trying to bring a little Christmas joy to the city of Winston-Salem, considering everything that is going on with the pandemic,” said Shankle.  

HYI is a nonprofit that works with area youth and parents to help them achieve intergenerational economic security. Shankle, executive director of HYI, says they also do a lot of financial literacy workshops with the families to assist them in becoming financially stable.  

The idea for the angel tree came to Shankle out of sheer need. While communicating with the families involved with her nonprofit, one of their biggest fears was not being able to provide anything to their children for Christmas.  Shankle and her team then jumped into action.

“During the pandemic, we have been providing rent and utilities assistance for our parents and what we did was we sent out an email asking how they were doing during the holiday season and all of our families weren’t really able to do anything for their kids this year,” Shankle said. “So, we got an angle tree and collected donations and we were able to get gifts for 30 of our families.”

Shankle is glad to be able to provide assistance to those in their time of need.

“It’s going to be awesome just to see them smile,” she said. “We visited some families and took food boxes to them and since many people have been in bad spirits, we are excited to see the joy it’s going to bring to the kids.”

The pandemic has impacted us all in some way. For the families connected with HYI, the impact has been devastating.

“A lot of our families couldn’t even pay rent,” she continued. “By the grace of God, we were able to receive grant funding from the Winston-Salem Foundation and with that we were able to take some of the financial burden off of those families, but it wasn’t a lot.

“We still have families right now that can’t pay utility bills for this upcoming month, because they still are out of work.”

According to Shankle, the HYI is working on expanding their career development program to assist the parents in their program with obtaining essential jobs. They are also looking to get into affordable housing because that is also a need for their families.

Shankle says the positive messages she receives from the families she assists fuels her to continue to do more.

“To be able to be a support system for them is just amazing,” she said. “Everyone has been very thankful and grateful for the services we have provided.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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