By Ashley Flete | Staff Writer

With winter approaching there are numerous community efforts going on to ensure the holiday spirit floods the city of Tallahassee. Shaakira White, an alumna of FAMU, decided to take matters into her own hands.

Last year, White took on another job at Dollar General, where she used her paychecks to purchase toys and everyday essentials such as toothbrushes, blankets, and clothes for those in need.

White said the idea of this generosity comes from Dollar General sending back holidays items if they were not sold while on sale.

“Things go as cheap as a penny,” White said.

White did not know that her efforts would be the start of a major movement.

White donated and personally delivered 84 gifts to the homeless and young girls in foster care in Tallahassee.

White said when delivering the gifts to the children it was remarkable to make an impact in their lives because it was unexpected.

“It was amazing to see their faces because they didn’t expect to get anything at all from anyone,” White said.

This year White has decided to step out of herself and ask for help in hopes to double the number of gifts from last year. This time she made a GoFundMe. White has raised a total of $516 out of her goal of $700.

Crystal Sheffield is one of White’s good friends and is also an alumna of FAMU who helped with this year’s incentive.

“Continue to do great things, sis! Hope my donation helps,” Sheffield said.

White said this has also been a very rewarding and emotional feeling for her. The amount of support she has received has been overwhelming.

To date this year White has collected 288 gifts, recognizing the donations of her supporters. Despite the fact of White’s one-of-a-kind giving ability, she constantly questions if the gifts are good enough. “I try to picture myself in their shoes and hope they get the best out of their gifts,” White said.

Precious White, Shaakira’s mother, is a big part of the process. She reassures Shaakira by ensuring her the gifts will be enough.  She comforts her daughter by letting her know her actions will not go unnoticed. She lets her know that there are not enough “thank you’s” you can receive for an act of this gratitude.

“Shaakira has always been a giving soul, ever since she was little. She has always wanted to make a difference. So her doing something like this is nothing new, it is just in her and if Shaakira was to ever fall short, she knows she has her family to count on” Precious said.

Shaakira will be delivering her first batch of gifts to the HOPE community on Christmas Eve at 4 p.m. and will begin distributing gifts at 6 p.m.

“This is something I want to continue every year, I hope this is something that will inspire others to make a difference in their community. A city to city thing and from there a national movement,” Shaakira said.

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