Area families in need receive free toys, turkeys in Landover Hills
Local Wal-Mart store sponsors fifth annual giveaway visited by local music stars
Play-Doh, talking electronic parrots and frozen turkeys found new homes on Dec. 22 thanks to an annual giveaway in Landover Hills for the Washington metropolitan area's less fortunate.
About 200 families from Maryland and Washington, D.C., benefitted from Wal-Mart's fifth annual Toys and Turkey Give-A-Way at the Landover Hills store on Annapolis Road, where free turkeys and about 700 toys were donated to residents struggling to support their families this holiday season.
Elected officials, including County Councilwoman Andrea Harrison (D-Dist. 5) of Springdale and Del. Aisha Braveboy (D-Dist. 25) of Mitchellville, handed out toys.
Braveboy, who is a member of Capitol Heights' The Sanctuary at Kingdom Square church, said Wal-Mart officials asked her to assist with finding a nonprofit group they could link with for the annual giveaway.
Braveboy suggested The Sanctuary at Kingdom Square, which was able to identify both church members and residents in need with the help of Prince George's County's Department of Social Services.
"The turnout is fantastic," Braveboy said. "We're just really excited to help deserving families at this time of the year."
Church minister Anthony Holmes said the event is necessary and appreciated in the community, especially with the state of the economy.
"It's wonderful," Holmes said. "I wish I was a kid again. It really puts you in the Christmas spirit seeing all the toys and everything."
Stacey Allen, 40, of Landover Hills expressed her gratitude.
A former nurse, Allen has been out of work for two years while she gets treatment for sarcoidosis, a disease that causes organ inflammation and can lead to organ damage.
Allen, who looks after three children and three grandchildren at home, said she is grateful to both Wal-Mart and the Department of Social Services for informing her about the event.
"It's really sweet and generous," Allen said.
Marisa Reid, 30, of District Heights said it is difficult being a single parent during the holiday season. Reid said the whole event warmed her heart as she held a bag filled with Play-Doh and My Little Pony dolls for daughter Nyelle, 6.
"It's just nice to know that people still care about the children," Reid said.
Grammy-nominated singer Raheem DeVaughn, a Hyattsville native and graduate of High Point High School in Beltsville, came to greet residents and sign autographs.
The event marked DeVaughn's third time participating in the annual giveaway, but this year he brought along two fellow artists rapper Wale, who lives in Largo, and Y'anna Crawley of Mount Rainier, winner of "Sunday's Best," a gospel singing contest which aired on BET this spring.
"The urban community spends their money here, so I think it's great to give something back," DeVaughn said.
E-mail Natalie McGill at firstname.lastname@example.org.