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Group holds toy drive

Quniana Futrell and her nonprofit organization Building Resilience in Communities will be helping children in the Hampton Roads community with the fourth annual It Takes a Village Toy Drive and Brunch.

The event is for children with parents that are currently incarcerated at Western Tidewater and Hampton Roads regional jails. Building Resilience in Communities has been collecting toys to provide special gifts for these children that are labeled from their parents.

“We started doing this from a personal space. I was a child with incarcerated parents, and in 2015 we started to do this on a larger scale,” Futrell said. “We were just seeing the need for it, and we started speaking to different jails in the community. Those children are not being taken care of during the holidays.”

Futrell said that children that are disconnected from their parents during the incarceration are likely to have issues at home and at school, and this event can help to keep the connection intact between the parent and the child.

“Support is what helps children keep going and gives them a shot of being successful. If we can fill that gap in some kind of way, we can keep them going,” Futrell said. “The parent still extends the love, and it helps them not be sent to the principal for behavior and not be angry with losing contact with parents.”

Making the event personal is an important part of the event, and Futrell understands the importance because of her own experiences while she was a child.

“I was the kid on the Angel Tree, and I got the granny shoes. People didn’t put much thought into it at all,” Futrell said. “When we receive the gifts for children, we make sure they are all tagged and labeled to say they are from the parents. We are filling the gap to let them know their parent still loves and cares for them. It means everything.”

Building Resilience in Communities plans to serve 300 children during the event, and 200 children already are signed up for the Toy Drive and Brunch. Futrell wants to fulfill her goal of 300 children, because she knows the need exists in her community.

Families that have children from infant to 18 years old with a parent incarcerated can email Futrell at info@brcinc.org with the child’s name, age, color, clothes and shoe size and a wish item. The deadline for names is Dec. 7.

Gifts are still needed for the event as well, and there are two drop off locations — Banister Nissan of Chesapeake, 930 N. Battlefield Blvd., Chesapeake, and Great Things Christian Childcare, 1020 George Washington Highway N., Chesapeake.

Building Resilience in Communities will also have a Fill in the Gap event in Norfolk, and it is another chance to submit names and donate toys and clothes. They will have the event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 10.

Those that come will stuff the bus that was donated by Agape Bus Tours in the parking lot at ARDX, 5800 Lake Wright Drive.

They are accepting a plethora of gifts including shoes, clothes and toys.

Building Resilience in Communities won’t be able to complete the gifts for the brunch without the help of volunteers. They are looking for volunteers to help wrap presents at Banister Nissan of Chesapeake from 5 to 9 p.m.

Volunteers are also welcome to help the day of the brunch from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 15 at Banister Nissan of Chesapeake.

For more information, email info@brcinc.org.