INDIANAPOLIS — It’s dinner time on a weeknight, but Renee Dixon isn’t sitting down to eat with family.
She’s in the aisle of a local Walmart, buying winter clothes for the students at the preschool where she’s a director.
“A lot of them didn’t have it, so they needed it,” Dixon explained of her 60-plus students, many of their parents just trying to make it, struggling because of the pandemic.
“They want to get their kids new coats, new gloves, new boots, but right now, it’s rent, light bill, gas bill and food,” Dixon said of the pressures parents are facing.
So Dixon has stepped in to fill the gap, driving for Uber on the weekends to earn the money to help.
She did the same thing last month during the holidays, driving Uber so she could buy Christmas presents for her students so their parents wouldn’t have to.
“She has a big heart for all the kids,” said mom Lauren Brinker, who had to leave her job because of a difficult pregnancy.
Brinker and her boyfriend are living on one income now, with their 7-year-old daughter Madison, who does e-learning at Dixon’s school.
“Miss Renee was able to help us give her the type of Christmas that every kid needs,” said Brinker, choking up.
For this soon-to-be-mom-of-two, it’s not just about what Dixon has helped with materially. It’s the encouragement she has given during one of the most difficult years of Brinker’s life.
“For me, it’s amazing that she’s in our corner for everything, no matter what’s going on,” Brinker said.
“With everything going on, a lot of people just want somebody to listen to them, not to even solve their problems, just to know that somebody’s listening and caring,” Dixon explained, saying she’s seen how others have cared too.
Total strangers heard about what she was doing during the holidays and donated presents and clothes to help out.
With the extra items that came in, Dixon turned around and gave donations to other schools where students needed help too.
“You just don’t stop when someone has given to you. If you have it, give it to someone else,” Dixon said, explaining she doesn’t plan to stop driving Uber.
The school needs tablets and computers, and Dixon is ready to earn the money to buy them.
“They need it. I’m going to try my best to get it,” she said.
The holiday season may be over, but Dixon’s work isn’t.
“I’m never done. I’m never finished. It doesn’t stop with Christmas,” Dixon said.