SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - It was a magical morning for a group of South Florida children who have experienced the loss of at least one parent, thanks in part to one member of 7’s family.
The young recipients never saw Christmas coming quite like this. “Ho, ho, ho, everybody,” said 7News chief meteorologist Phil Ferro he entered the children’s residence in Southwest Miami-Dade, Friday morning.
The joy was written all over the children’s faces as they opened and began to explore their gifts. “I was excited,” said one boy.
“It’s like Santa is great, but he gave me these toys for a reason,” said Nevaeh Foster.
7News partnered up with Toys for Tots for the delivery, and Ferro said he found playing the role of Santa to be a fulfilling experience. “This is when you see the toys making it into the place, you see the end result. I hardly ever see that. That’s great,” he said.
All nine children have lost at least one parent, and some of them have lost both.
Lakeisha Lampley was killed in 2012.
Edward Foster III was killed in 2015.
Edward’s sister held back tears as she expressed what this gift delivery means to her loved ones. “To know it’s these kids that are suffering, you don’t have an idea every day to know that these kids don’t have a mom and a dad. You guys don’t know,” said Crystal Foster.
Lampley and Foster had eight children between them. When they died, their family was determined to keep the unit tight, and even took on a ninth child whose father was also killed.
“If we wouldn’t have taken them, they would have all been in shelters and separated from each other,” said Altie Banuchi, who has been taking care of children since 2005. “We wanted to keep them together. That was the goal.”
A goal that was accomplished despite the challenges of providing for nine children, particularly at Christmastime.
“We struggled last year, and this year we struggled a little bit trying to get it together, but this is a blessing,” said Andrina Foster, another of Edward’s sisters.
It’s a blessing that has both sisters shedding tears of joy and smiling from ear to ear.
Along with WSVN, South Florida Honda Dealers also sponsored the Christmas surprise.
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