Nonprofit eases holiday burden on local families

WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — Cristina Smith works every day. She has five kids and struggles to make ends meet.

“This year has been one of the roughest years of my life,” said Smith.”

It’s stories like hers that pull at Debra Roffo’s heartstrings. She founded the nonprofit Angel in Action R.I. in memory of her mother Ann. The organization does acts of kindness all year long, but last year Roffo began doing something extra special around the holidays.

“I can remember not paying bills in December just to buy my kids Christmas presents,” said Roffo.

This year, Angel in Action is easing the burden on local working families, by collecting and distributing Christmas presents for 101 kids.

“My volunteers will adopt these children, say I will adopt Johnny age 5 or Susan age 3, so everybody gets a child, and they get exactly what’s on that child’s list,” said Roffo.

Among those donors is Danielle Evora, who knows what it’s like to struggle around the holidays.

“Been there, lived paycheck to paycheck, had medical emergencies, just shut Christmas down for us,” said Evora.

Evora brought her daughter Ava Marie with her to drop off gift bags Friday night.

“I know that when they wake up on Christmas Day, they’re going to have all those presents under the tree. They’re going to smile the biggest smile anyone has seen in the world,” said Ava Marie Evora.

And it’s not just these kids who will be smiling December 25th.

“It’s going to make me smile Christmas morning, knowing my kids are going to be able to get up and have a little more presents than they would normally under the tree, because people out there are willing to help,” said Smith.

For more information on Angel in Action R.I., click here