JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Every year, Heather Challet plans something with her mother to help those who are less fortunate around the holidays, but this year she wanted to include her two children.
First Coast News sat down with this mother of two who explains she learned a lesson herself while teaching her children the importance of helping others.
In addition to reading and manners lessons, this holiday season Heather Challet is teaching her 6 year-old son Keith and 8 year-old daughter Hailey a lesson in helping others.
“We all should be trying to reach out to those less-fortunate, we should all try to help our neighbor, our friends,” said Challet.
This year, Challet is filling up bags for the homeless, filled with items most people take for granted; such as body wash, shampoo, deodorant toothbrushes and tooth paste. The family even packed blankets in the bags as well.
Hailey and Keith will be by her side filling them and handing them out on Dec. 16.
“I felt like that was something they could kind of go out and see first-hand that there are people that are less fortunate, there are people that don’t have anything," Challet said. "They’re not getting Christmas presents or anything like that, so that they can appreciate what they have a little bit more."
Her children aren't the only ones lending a helping hand this year.
“I made Facebook event and invited a few friends and people just started inviting other people," Challet said. "I think 24 hours later I had invited 50 people and by the next day there was 231."
Friends donated supplies, the bags from area businesses and her children’s school is even making cards, enough to make 500 care packages in total.
“I’m overwhelmed just perfect strangers that don’t even know me to come out and volunteer to bring their kids, bring their families to help and to donate and spend their own money, especially around the holidays, to help someone else. And yes it absolutely changes perception of humanity.”
Challet says she knew there are good people out there, but says you rarely hear about it nowadays.
“Everyone is so focused on the negative and on the bad, to see so many people come together that don’t even know each other to try to make this event a big thing and a successful thing it honestly just warms my heart," said Challet.
It warms her heart that this Christmas she’ll be able to provide these gift bags in hopes of warming others.
The bags will be distributed in Jacksonville Beach and Downtown Jacksonville on December 16.
If you'd like more information about the event or how you can help donate, click here.