A labor of love helps families in need for the holidays

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — This typically busy street was filled with bikes as metro kids got an early start to the holiday.

It was all smiles for these local families who got to fill the space under their tree thanks in part to leaders at the Wilhelmina Gill Services Center. Karen Reed started a program fifteen years ago to help less fortunate families have a happy holiday. Reed said what started as a way to think of others turned into a way to memorialize her husband.

“The kids, it’s for them. I mean I have grandchildren of my own, but it is for the kids,” Reed said. “Because I make sure these kids have something. It is what my husband wanted. And I mean, I am 70 years old and I am still out there shopping for these kids.”

During a time of year when most parents worry about what to get their families, Reed looks at what to get the community. It’s a task she calls ‘simple’ when you’re passionate about what you do.

“We normally get toys around ten dollars a piece, and we just start going down the aisle. Boys and girls toys, and then baby toys, and I don’t know. We just do it,” Reed said.

Dolls, cards, and makeup: all things Reed stocks up, and now impacting hundreds of families across the metro.

One area grandmother, Martha Brown, walked away with bikes for each of her grandchildren.

“It helped me get things that I couldn’t get. So now they are going to have a blessed Christmas,” Brown said.

Creating a smile, she says, is impossible to put a price tag on.



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