"Thank you," exclaimed a young girl, after getting a room full of toys for herself and her siblings. It's those words, her smile, and her hugs, that make Julissa Soto's days worthwhile.
"I'm happy that they're happy," said Soto.
Happy to give families in need food, toys, blankets, and beds for free.
"The other day we came to this house and this house was empty... I went home, I was traumatized," said Soto.
But after filling up her minivan all the way to the back with toys, that house is not empty anymore. It's all thanks to the Facebook page the single mother of six created, called "Helping One Another for Free." A page that she says had more than 5,000 likes in less than a week!
"I used to live in shelters," said Soto. "So I know what's the hard life. I know how to start with nothing, only your luggage."
Soto moved to Buffalo fifteen years ago, a turning point in her life. That's when she met her now ex-husband, and when she says she first experienced domestic violence.
"I was covering myself all the time that he was hitting me," remembered Soto. "Then, he grabbed my purse from the floor and started hitting me."
Soto now helps other families struggling to get by with the Facebook page. A page she wasn't able to manage alone, and brought in Alexis Andrews for support.
"I had nothing and today, I have my own home, my own car, because I asked for help," said Andrews.
It all comes full circle. Both women, who had nothing, giving back to families who are in the position they were in just years ago. Like the family 7 Eyewitness News spoke to, who lost everything to a house fire.
"It makes me believe that there are good people out there, regardless of what I'm going through or my situations," said the mother of the kids who did not want to be named. "It means so much, especially when you have nobody."
"This feeling is just priceless," said Andrews. "You don't get this anywhere else."
"I thank God that I did open that page and It's helping others," said Soto. "For free!"
To donate items for families in need, you can send it to Soto's P.O. Box:
PO BOX 774
Buffalo, NY 14207
She is hoping to plan a get-together for families in need during Christmas. Soto hopes to find somebody to donate a space where they would be able to hold this event. If you are interested, you can contact her via her Facebook page here, or through her e-mail: email@example.com .
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