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Gainesville woman helps provide hope for the homeless

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This time of year is filled with fun festivities and special time with the ones you love, but a Gainesville woman also sees it as an opportunity.

“I saw a lot of homeless people and I thought, we’re coming up on Christmas and there is so much activity and hustle bustle and I just thought, ‘how can we keep Christ in Christmas,’” said Melissa Allen, creator of Hope for the Homeless Stockings. “The original idea was to maybe put 10-15 stockings together, keep them in my car, hand them out as I saw people in need.”

Allen turned to her friends to see if anyone would like to join in, and before she knew it social media brought this project to life.

“I started to received text messages and emails and phone calls and it was just amazing to see how people responded,” Allen said. “I realized very quickly this was going to be much larger of an operation than I thought.”

Allen figured six dollars would cover one stocking. As donations started rolling in, she started buying bulk boxes snacks and toiletries from Amazon.

“Everyone will be coming to my home tomorrow to stuff the stockings, then Wednesday we will be going to grace marketplace and distributing the stockings there,” Allen said.

But Allen says there is more to this project than just giving some help to the homeless.

“The purpose behind this project is to let them know that regardless of what you own, regardless of where you lay your head, that someone loves you,” Allen said.

Because the stockings will be stuffed Tuesday, Allen says she doesn't need any more donations. But if you want to help, she hopes you can be inspired to stuff your own stockings for those in need.

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