Greensboro mother working to make sure everyone has a good Christmas

Offbeat and Unique

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A Greensboro mom’s social media post, to get some of her kids’ unused toys to families in need, created a giving circle that has exploded over the last couple of days.

In a post shared to her Nextdoor Group three days ago, Marie Starks said that she was in search of a family who could not make Christmas happen on their own.

“It snowballed into this,” she laughed, looking around her at bags of donations around her. 

People started posting about items they had and wanting to join Starks in helping those in need.

“Other people from the community just wanted to join. They wanted to give too,” she said.

On Tuesday, she set up many of the donated items on a grassy spot outside of the Big Lots on Battleground Avenue.

Everything was free.

“I couldn’t handle it all just from my living room,” Starks said.

Malia Brimley and her son, Steven, showed up, thankful for the holiday help. 

“It’s been hard. A lot of not working. Barely being able to pay the bills. It’s just hard,” they said. 

The mother and son picked out presents for the other kids in their family, knowing that if Starks didn’t do this, they may not have anything under the tree.

“We’re just sticking together and praying as a family,” Brimley said. “Trying to make it through.”

As families picked out items, car after car drove up. Drivers dropped off bags of books, games, clothes and toys.

“They’re still coming up and donating. It’s so great,” Colleen Joynes said. “I really appreciate them. They will be blessed.”

Joynes has two young children at home and another on the way. She’s been working hard to support her family after her boyfriend lost his job in March. 

It’s something many families have been going through this year.

“I just think this year has been hard on so many people,” Starks said. “It doesn’t matter who you are. It’s just been hard.”

Despite the struggles, parents like Joynes are smiling, knowing that their kids will be too.

“They’re going to be so happy,” she said. “The tree is going to be lit up, and there’s going to be some presents under there.”

The true meaning of Christmas in 2020 was created with a simple social media post.

“I’m very proud of the pull together from the community,” Starks said.

“It’s beautiful. It’s what we need,” Joynes said. “Everyone needs to come together.”

If people need to pick up items for their families or have items to donate, Starks will be back out near the Big Lots on Battleground Avenue on Wednesday, December 24 starting at noon. 

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