Christmas donations collected for Southside community

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — This week the community is invited to help give Christmas to dozens of families facing hard times on Richmond Southside.

‘Operation Rudd’s Trailer Park’ supports residents of the community off Jeff Davis Highway.

Moving Forward Church and Valentine Properties are collecting infant to adult sized clothing, toys, non-perishable foods and appliances like heaters and grills.

Donations are being accepted at Valentine Properties (Photo: Valentine Properties)
Donations are being accepted at Valentine Properties (Photo: Valentine Properties)

“Some of the mobile homes you can’t operate the heat and the ovens at the same time, so a lot of them cook outside on grills,” says Austin Bergman, owner of Valentine Properties. “Most of those grills don’t work anymore so we’ve taken up donations on grills.”

Adds Lisa Graves with Moving Forward Church, “Shoes, clothes, and we want to provide that they have toys. When we’ve seen the kids, they have no toys to play with.”

8News has been keeping an eye on conditions at Rudd’s Trailer Park since 2014, when City of Richmond began cracking down on the property.

Last year current and former residents filed a discrimination lawsuit against the City after inspectors cited them for code violations and condemned their homes.

At that time, the Legal Aid Justice Center said the City had been unfairly targeting mobile home parks with large Latino populations through aggressive inspections and unreasonable code violations, causing a number of families to be displaced.

Many others still living there continue to have a tough time making ends meet.

Moving Forward Church dropped off Christmas trees to families recently, and volunteers see how the children have enjoyed decorating them for Santa Claus to visit.

“Those are the things we take for granted,” says Graves. “Some of those kids probably never had a Christmas tree.”

Donations can be dropped off at Valentine Properties, 16707 Hull Street Road in Chesterfield until Friday morning.

A truck will deliver the donations to Rudd’s Trailer Park Friday afternoon.