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‘Merry & Joy’: Mother thankful for help from community, holiday meal & gift from police union

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – We are continuing our Positively JAX series “Merry & Joy” in the hopes of inspiring you to pay it forward this holiday season.

With the help of an anonymous donor offering homegrown fruits, vegetables and turkeys, along with generous gifts from local law enforcement and firefighters, Mary Baer and Joy Purdy have been making surprise deliveries around town helping to lift spirits and show you how any little gesture can go a very long way.

Our next stop was in the Lackawanna area of town, where Kayla Alford has seen some hard times

“Well, we’ve lived in this place for a couple of years. Before that, we kind of were homeless a little bit. We bounced around as much as we could, but this is our first time, building our own little family, and it’s been a struggle to say the least since my husband became disabled and I’m the only source of income,” Alford explained.

She said she was homeless with her husband and two children, but her community and neighbors helped her family with shelter. And, now, she’s thankful once again for the surprise of a Christmas meal from the anonymous donor and the generous gift from the local police union.

“Oh wow!” Alford said when we showed her the donated turkey and homegrown vegetables and fruit. “Oh wow! These are beautiful!”

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After helping Alford carry in her first gift and visiting with her family, we gave her one more surprise: $400 from the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police.

“Oh, my gosh!” she said after opening her card.

“Hopefully, that gift of $400 will help with Christmas and just allow some relaxation a little bit,” we said.

“One hundred percent! I really appreciate it!” Alford said with emotion. “It’s been a blessing. We went from not knowing how we’re going to do this holiday to everything basically being taken care of for the kids, and it’s — I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Kayla Alford was surprised with gifts. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

About the Authors:

Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.

At WJXT for a quarter of a century, Mary Baer anchors the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. news weekdays.