Fort Worth

#SomethingGood: Fort Worth Family Pays it Forward to Nearly 1,000 Kids This Christmas

Nonprofit "Giving Christmas" started 10 years ago with a mission to share life's blessings

NBCUniversal, Inc.

A Fort Worth family is giving back in a big way.

Ten years ago, Esmi Martinez and her children were living in a motel.

"We lived there for two years, paycheck to paycheck. I was waiting tables at the time," she said.

She didn't have a way to provide Christmas presents for her kids that year.

But after a good Samaritan tipped her $800 at her job, she paid it forward and got presents for the other children living in the motel.

"Somebody in a random act of kindness dropped off Christmas presents for my children and it was the biggest blessing to my kiddos," Martinez said. "I don’t know if my kids quite understood what was happening but for me, it was the biggest impact that somebody could’ve ever had."

Flash forward to now, and that act of kindness has turned into a non-profit she started, Giving Christmas.

This year, the family has collected toys for nearly 1,000 children in need in Tarrant County, thanks to endless support in her community.

They've spent weeks wrapping and sorting more than 2,000 presents, which are filling her home to capacity. Her garage, living room and kitchen are overflowing with generosity.

“I think for us, the biggest thing we try to teach our kiddos is that kindness is key. And that we love on others because that’s what we’re called to do," said Martinez. "We very much feel like it’s a mission that’s been put on us and that God has told us that this is something that we need to do. 'I’ve given you this opportunity to let you experience this so that you can help others.'"

On Thursday, Giving Christmas will drop off the toys to kids in need at David E. Smith, West Birdville and W.T. Francisco elementary schools.

The family has spent their own time and money to wrap every present. In addition to the community, her job at Target helped provide toy donations and discounted wrapping paper. It took at least 300 rolls to wrap all 2,100 presents.

Martinez said she eventually wants to recruit people with like minds to do similar missions and other areas of Texas.

Volunteers are welcome to make next year's holiday even brighter. If you would like more information, click here.

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