Annual Big Give Helps Thousands of Families in Need
The annual Big Give in Augusta County is bigger than ever this year. Thousands of families are saying thank you after a daylong free shopping spree.
Children with no shoes and no coats stood in the cold Saturday morning waiting for the Augusta Expoland to open its doors. Organizers for The Big Give say there's a big need, and now a group of churches have come forward to help.
Fonda Medina relies on family and friends for help this Christmas, six months after a fire destroyed her Fishersville home. "And having four kids, to take care of, attitudes, and getting our life back right, it's real hard," she said.
She's browsing for coats to keep the kids warm this winter, and this Saturday's shopping spree won't cost her - or the thousands of other families at Augusta Expoland - anything. It's all thanks to The Big Give.
The Big Give Director Tanya Gigliotti said, "All the clothes you see people have been bringing them all year long to restoration ministries. We've been folding and sorting since July, and they come in a lot this last month and a half. They just flow in every day."
The Big Give is made up of about 60 valley churches and nearly 500 volunteers. Together, they collect and give thousands of families items such as shoes, clothes, food, diapers, and even bedding. It's a service Gigliotti says is sorely needed in the Shenandoah Valley.
"We saw people coming in tears because they didn't know what they were going to do. Their kids were growing out of everything. They had no money. They had no jobs right now. Everybody's laid off, so they're just crying, and what can you say? It's incredible. Incredible feeling," said Gigliotti
An incredible feeling Medina won't soon forget. "Fishersville, the schools, everything, my community, they were great. Real great, I want to tell them thank you," she said.
If you need assistance and missed Saturday's Big Give, organizers have now scheduled a second giveaway. The Big Give will return to Augusta Expoland Thursday December 15 at 9 a.m. Volunteers will be on hand until everything is given away.
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Derick Waller joined the NBC 29 news team in August, 2010. Prior to this, Derick graduated with degrees in both broadcast journalism and political science from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story