Those who give the most are often the people who expect the least. Preschool director Renee Dixon is like that.
Working at Lynhurst Baptist Church Preschool Ministry in Indianapolis, Dixon says she knows what it’s like to just barely get by.
“When I was a kid, we didn’t have much,” she told KENS-TV.
Christmas is also very important to Dixon, who admitted she turns up the festive tunes in October.
This year, she knew the state of the world would mean even fewer of the children in her preschool would get Christmas presents. The preschool has a food pantry, and Dixon is working to get clothes for needy families, but that’s not what kids are thinking about on the 25th.
“A lot of the parents were telling me they can’t buy their kids anything,” Dixon told Good Morning America. “I know how that feels, and I never want a child to ever feel that things you dream about never, ever come true, or that things you pray about never come true, or that the world isn’t fair because of their living situation.”
Dixon also knew that kids might not really understand why there were no presents, so she decided to take care of that problem and vowed to personally provide a gift for each of the 50 children at the preschool.
“[E]very child needs a merry Christmas,” she said to KENS, adding, “just to give them a little bit of love, just for even one day because since COVID, their world’s been turned upside down.”
This isn’t the first year she’s done this, but this year she had to pick up extra work driving for Uber and Lyft. That job did end up providing many Christmas gifts — and not in the way she’d suspected.
One passenger she chatted with got the ball rolling on her behalf.
“He said he works for Wheeler Mission, and he was like, ‘I like what you’re doing,'” Dixon said. “And I’m like, ‘It’s nothing. This is what you’re supposed to do.’
“So he recorded me and him talking, and Emily Longnecker contacted me and said she’s seen it. And we did an interview with her. And then The Washington Post did an article.”
More than just her passenger liked what she was doing, and the donated presents for her kids came pouring in — more than she needed for all their siblings, so she started donating the gifts to other area preschools.
“All 50 kids and their siblings was able to get Christmas presents this year,” she announced. “We had so many people donate that I actually gave other preschools books and Legos.”
“I don’t like a big deal made about this, because this is something everyone should be doing,” she told GMA. “Taking care of kids and making sure people’s needs are met and kids’ needs are met, that’s something everybody should be doing, and all year-round, not just at Christmas.”
But the giving wasn’t quite over yet. Dixon had had her heart set on a Nissan Armada for some time, but she hadn’t been able to pull it off. Thankfully, someone who could make it happen did.
“We saw that she wanted a Nissan Armada as her Christmas gift,” Pat Hurst, the local dealership’s general manager, told KENS. “We couldn’t be more happy to provide her with her Christmas gift.”
Though she had helped make dozens of children’s wishes come true, Dixon was shocked when the giving was focused on her.
“I’m like, ‘Are you really serious?'” she recalled saying. “I had tears in my eyes. I’m still in shock.
“I needed something in my life … my uncle, he died from COVID, his son, my cousin, died from COVID and he was my best friend, and I saw him die in front of my eyes, so I — you know, like everybody else, you need that little spark and knowing that people out there that still cares.”
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