Leah Fairchild had just given Christmas bags to a dozen homeless people on the streets of Manhattan when she began to cry. She wanted to do more.
Since that Christmas five years ago, she has.
“Each year I vow to do it bigger and better,” said Fairchild, who, with the help of volunteers raised nearly $3,500 last year, visited seven shelters in Bergen, Passaic, Hudson and Essex counties and distributed 350 gift bags to those living on the street.
Fairchild, a single mom of three who owns and operates Train on Purpose (TOP) Hybrid Fitness Studio in Lyndhurst, launched her “Christmas Miracle Project” in 2014 with $150 of her own money, including tips she made working at a local bar from customers who’d learned of her plans.
The next year, she made 117 bags zip-locking bags with personal hygiene items and non -perishable food, followed by 220 in 2016 and 250 in 2017.
The goal this year: $4,000 for 400 bags.
"Think for one second how cold it’s been, when you’re just running to your car from a warm store or your warm home," said Fairchild, of Lyndhurst. "Imagine having no relief to go inside.
"A lot are not homeless by choice," she said, "They have endured bad times, circumstances, and loss. Many are clinically depressed with no light at the end of the tunnel. Receiving a gift from a random stranger that is letting them know we care can inspire by epic proportions. If our project moves to inspire just 10 people to get help and get off the street, we have won.
"And if all of these words don’t move you then how about this??? This is your chance to make the 'Nice List' to clean some 2019 Karma to enter 2020 with a clean slate having willingly decided to help a stranger."
Fairchild is also seeking "elves" to help pack the bags on Dec. 23 and deliver them the morning between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
“We need anyone who knows where we can find clusters of homeless, those who are willing to drive around with us as we jump out of the car each time we spot someone in need, and anyone with contacts to awesome shelters that will receive us Christmas Eve,” she said.
TEXT: (917) 671-7474
DONATE/MORE INFO: Christmas Miracle Project 2019
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