Leah Fairchild of Lyndhurst 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 four years ago, she has.
“Each year I vow to do it bigger and better,” said Fairchild, who, with help from a team of volunteers, will distribute 275 bags Monday morning to those living on the streets and in shelters in Bergen, Passaic, Hudson and Essex counties.
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, followed by 220 in 2016.
Last year, she and her “elves” distributed 250 zip-locking bags with personal hygiene items and non -perishable food.
This year, Fairchild raised nearly $3,000 through a GoFundMe campaign and on Facebook. More than 65 donors contributed.
Friends and clients will gather at her studio on Sunday to pack bags. More volunteers will help deliver them Monday morning.
Fairchild could still use sorters and packers Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at her studio: 137 Stuyvesant Ave.
“Depending on the amount of items to volunteer ratio you may be given a shift or the entire time,” she said. “Please only volunteer if you are available the entire time frame. If you have an elf hat, please bring it along.”
She also needs more street team members, also from 9 a.m. to 20 p.m.
Each team must have at least two men.
“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,” Fairchild said.
They’ll meet at 8:45 p.m. at the studio.
TEXT: (917) 671-7474
“If you have a Santa hat, please wear it,” Fairchild said.
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