HAMPTON, Va.— Santa is getting some extra help this year to spread cheer to military families in Hampton Roads.
Food Lion employees in the Hampton/Newport News region pulled together to raise enough money to buy hundreds of gifts for 12 deserving families in the area.
They worked with Operation Homefront to identify local families in to adopt for the holidays.
They bought an estimated 200 gifts for children and families.
The giving didn’t stop with the gifts. Families also received $50 gift cards to buy groceries at Food Lion in addition to a $50 gift card to enjoy dinner out at a restaurant as part of their "Food Lion Feeds" campaign.
Logistics Specialist Alex Jackson will have served in the Navy for seven years this April. He says Christmas is just about making his family happy.
“It’s hard sometimes,” says Jackson about being away from his family.
He asked the Food Lion team to leave the gifts unwrapped so he could wrap them with his wife.
“It’s going to feel really good. Like, I actually got to get some wrapping paper now; it’ll feel really good.”
Leah King is a Food Lion store manager in Gloucester. She and two other area managers contacted the families and shopped wisely to stretch the money as far at it could go.
“Kind of looking to see who has the best deals and how we get the biggest bang for our buck for these families this holiday season.”
King decided she wanted to do more for the families. She won two flat screen TVs at a company raffle and decided to give them both away to make Christmas that much sweeter.
King also sponsored four of the military families out of her own pocket— sacrificing gifts for her own children— because she says she’s been blessed.
“I actually went home and told my children, 'Christmas is probably going to be a little less for you this year because you already have enough,'” explained King. They were ecstatic. My 10-year-old helped me wrap, she shopped, they made sure I had enough toys for each family.”
Food Lion estimates that they spent about $4,500 to make sure the families got everything on their list and more.