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Eastern Iowa families find holiday help through new social media group

Iowa – There are only a few weeks left in 2020, and so many people are still having a tough time from the previous 350 days of 2020.

For some families, that financial struggle was from the pandemic or the August 10 derecho, making it difficult to offer a giving heart when gifts often come with a price tag.

“Normally, I get my kid’s stuff every year,” Jennifer Franks, of Cedar Rapids, said. “When it hit December 1st, I was just overwhelmed.

Franks was struggling with homelessness. Her income was from a disability check. She said the office where she picked those up changed hours due to COVID-19, which made it even more challenging to get what you need when there was no home to mail it to.

“I’m low income and couldn’t afford Christmas this year,” Franks said.

Franks said she has no money to buy Christmas gifts for her two young children. They were currently living with grandma while she tried to find a place to live, but one group was stepping up to try and help families like the Franks.

All of the gifts under Capria Davis’ tree aren’t for her, they were for families in need. She set up a Facebook group, Corridor Community Adopt a Family, after seeing the number of people struggling with COVID-19 and the storm.

“I know how hard this year has been for everyone,” Davis said. “I wanted to do something to help with that.”

Davis said she made the page a few weeks ago, and hundreds of gifts have been given out. While it was the gift of giving for her this holiday season, watching what people try to overcome this time of year was something she knows all too well.

“I remember one Christmas, specifically, a family had brought over a couple of things for us,” Davis said. “They went above and beyond. They brought toys that we could open, new pajamas, and food. It was one of the most exciting things as a kid.”

It was that feeling of joy she remembers so clearly that she wanted to bring to families like Jennifer’s in these last days of a very trying year.

“Hopefully my kids will have a good Christmas,” Franks said.

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