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Spreading holiday cheer to the homeless

Posted at 5:37 PM, Dec 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-23 17:40:42-05

Waking up to tons of Christmas presents underneath the tree is something most of us look forward to, but that's not the case for thousands of people who go homeless each year.

But there's some good news: a few women and children at a local shelter won't go empty handed this year thanks to two local good Samaritans.

"I want the women and kids to understand that you know, there is someone out there that cares," said donator Tiaera Williams.

She and her accomplice Kelly Crews have filled dozens of gifts bags full of toys, journals and personal hygiene items to send a message of empowerment to the women.

“I think as women, when we feel good, we smell good, it's easier for us to move forward," Williams said.

The two local Samaritans delivered 180 gifts today to the Norma Herr Women's Center in downtown Cleveland.

Susan Neth, Executive Director of Frontline Services, the company overseeing the shelter, said it’s rare that someone’s able to donate enough items to accommodate all their inhabitants.

 "What's unusual about this donation is that it's large enough that every woman who's in the shelter will receive something."

Crews said she knows how important the little things mean especially around this time of year.

She said, “Delivering them something that will make them feel better, lip gloss, or a journal, that they can write their dreams and visions down in will empower them to stay focused."

The need to stay focused is something Crews can relate to as 14 years ago, she and her 2 kids were also homeless.

"It felt humiliating, it felt like I wasn't worth anything," she said.

But with the help of a supportive community, she got back on her feet....and is using her story to benefit others.

She explained, “At this moment for me, to be able to deliver these gifts to the women, it's just an incredible feeling of joy and just letting them know that they're not forgotten."

The Norma Herr Women's Center is the largest of its kind in the state and is able to house nearly 200 women and children. Crews and Williams hope to give to more women in need in the future.

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