LEESBURG, Va., -- The Douglass Community Center in Leesburg was transformed into a winter wonderland Saturday - filled with stacks of gifts for each of the more than five hundred families who turned out.
The event was organized by Mobile Hope, a Loudoun County non-profit that helps homeless and disadvantaged kids.
Donna Fortier, the organization’s CEO and Founder, said many families feel reticent about asking for help at this time of year, but they’ve been able to build up trust in the community. “Throughout the year we hear so many horrific stories these kids deal with- for all of us to come together, to see the smiles on the young kids faces, that’s what keeps us doing it,” Fortier said.
The annual Christmas party is a true community effort with thousands of volunteers and hours put in to sort and wrap the presents. Fortier said all the gifts were donated by area businesses and local residents. “It’s humbling: the community support. It’s truly humbling," said Fortier.
For Waddy and Christine Whaba, the event has become an exciting family tradition for their two young kids. The family immigrated from Egypt six years ago and they say the organization has become like an extended family to them. “This is the first source for us for everything we needed, they are so friendly with us, so much like family," said Christine Whaba.
Mobile Hope (mobilehopeloudon.org) is planning to launch a capital fundraising campaign in the new year to raise funds for a residential housing complex.