Local family spends Christmas giving back to childhood community

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Christmas is the season of giving and for one family, it was giving back to the community they once called home that made this holiday so special.

“We know what it’s like to need to stretch that money at Christmas time when you are living paycheck to paycheck,” Audrey McLean said.

McLean and her sister came up with the idea to give out bags of food across the street from their church 5th Street Baptist as well as make donations.

It was a full family affair with her daughter Sarina beaming with pride.

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“We just wanted to kind of help ease their budget on these people because it’s a tough time for everyone,” Sarina Harper said.

They told people about the event simply by passing out fliers and ended up handing out over 200 bags.

“People we distributed food to today, we don’t know no more than what they told us about their income. We didn’t ask any questions, we just wanted to be used,” McLean said.

McLean says the idea was also inspired by her late mother, who was known for her spirit of giving.

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“She had such a big benevolent heart that I like to think that rubbed off on me and it’s rubbing off on my children as well,” she said of her mother.

Her daughter called this Christmas with strangers the best one yet.

“Everyone got a story. It kind of made me feel better than any present I could have gotten. Any iPhone or a new car or anything like that,” Harper said.

The family says they hope to make it an annual tradition and next year they hope it can be even bigger.

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