TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Layne family has made handing presents out to the homeless a Christmas tradition for the last five years. While most children her age are excited about getting their own presents, nine-year-old Olivia Layne is excited to give presents to others.
“Because I think everybody deserves a present on Christmas,” she said.
Lesley Birkert has been homeless for the last week. He recently found a job and says this act of kindness has made the holiday even brighter for him.
“Right now some of us are at a low point in our life, and it just brings joy to my heart to see that somebody could bring their child out and give away gifts to people. It’s a blessing,” Birkert said.
Layne’s mom Rebecca said her daughter has learned the joy in giving to others.
“It puts a smile on her face, on our face and theirs, which is most important,” she said.
Olivia agrees it feels good to spread Christmas cheer, “It makes me smile and it makes my heart happy.”
They handed out 40 Christmas presents this year, and they said they’d like to give away twice as many next year. The presents contained warm clothing, fresh fruits and vegetables and hygiene products.
Many of the gifts were donated by members of a Facebook group called TPS Gives and collected at the Topeka Law Enforcement Center.
The “TPS” stands for Topeka Police Scanner. The group originated from a police scanner enthusiast group page.