HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) - A group of strangers went into some of the toughest neighborhoods in Hampton Roads with toys and a message. The goal: to spread some joy to those who might not have gotten any this Christmas.
On most nights at Regency Plaza Apartments in Hampton, residents are hesitant of opening their doors to strangers. But this isn't most nights.
Every year Terry Riddick and his group Best Kept Secret-Stop The Violence spends Christmas Eve together. Their goal is to make sure every little one gets a toy.
"I just remember when there was times when we couldn't afford toys," Riddick said. "To bring the smiles to other people, it's beautiful."
And with every toy comes a smile. Just ask Nazheem.
"I feel awesome," he said.
"It's a special thing," Father Ramon Sexton added. "People don't just give to children."
But as Father Sexton learned, they are just giving out toys. The gifts also come with a message.
"Encourage people to do the right thing," Riddick told the crowd. "Stop the violence."
Riddick's cousin was murdered in 2005.
"We're here to bring awareness to our communities to the crime that's killing our babies," Riddick added.
"People need to stop the gun violence," Sexton said. "It's senseless. A lot of young people are dying over senseless things."
Riddick knows the love on this night won't last forever. Some of the smiles he sees now he might not see next year.
"We have to keep pushing," Riddick added. "We have to keep pushing harder."
Best Kept Secret-Stop the Violence volunteers have passed out toys for the last three years. They got help from local car club Changin Lanez. They also dropped off toys to the kids on Ridley Circle in Newport News.
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