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The Winter Joy Project collects donations for area families in need this holiday season

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Simone Edwards is the CEO of The Winter Joy Project, and says her Grandma Toni Parkes kept hats, gloves and scarves on her at all times. It inspired her to start the non-profit organization. (Image: Simone Edwards)

It's the season of giving, and people in Chattanooga are thinking of new ways to help those who need it most.

The Winter Joy Project is working on its first holiday season of donating hats, scarves, and gloves to kids.

Simone Edwards is the CEO and says her Grandma Toni Parkes kept hats, gloves and scarves on her at all times. It inspired her to start The Winter Joy Project.

"She always had these items and giving them out to any kids she saw," Edwards said.

Edwards says her grandma always was generous and saw a need in Chattanooga.

"She wanted to give back in any way she could," Edwards said.

Edwards is collecting donations so she can purchase hats, gloves, scarves for kids in need.

"I went to a school where I saw a lot of kids in need so being able to give back to the community," Edwards said.

She's collected enough donations for around 75 kits so far, but says she'll have 500 kits by next week.

"The pandemic has been hard. All these parents we've already helped out is like this is the only thing I am able to give to my kids this year," Edwards said.

She says she's just carrying on her grandma's legacy, but is thankful for anyone that was able to donate. She says she received a $1,600 grant from the Unfoundation.

The Unfoundation is a grassroots organization that takes donations and puts them toward a non-profit, idea or individual that will help make Chattanooga a better place.

Melanie Silva with the Unfoundation says there's always a need in Chattanooga.

"As Chattanoogans, we have to be grateful for the things we have in our community," Silva said. "We have a lot of things to be thankful for, and we have a lot of opportunity to help other people have that, too."

Silva says community outreach like The Winter Joy Project is why they do what they do.

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"I am very blessed to give back especially during a pandemic. It's been hard for a lot of families," Edwards said.

If you are in need and want these kits and donations for your children, head to thewinterjoyproject.com to learn how you can apply.

On December 28th through December 31st, you can pick up a kit from the Winter Joy Project at the YMCA off Dodson Avenue in Chattanooga from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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