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Small group making big difference in Ferguson

"This is such a blessing. It's going to make tears come down my face when they come and open their gifts.”

FERGUSON, Mo. — There's a small group in Ferguson that's making a big difference in people's lives by connecting them with needed resources and spreading some cheer along the way.

The Southeast Ferguson Community Association held a Christmas party Thursday night to give gifts to families who might otherwise not be able to afford them. And that effort is just a small part of what the group does year-round.

Rose Neal knows all too well how helpful the Association can be. In September, Neal learned she's one of many in north St. Louis County who may be evicted because their houses and apartments aren't up to code.

“I've been having a hard time,” said Neal.

She turned to the Southeast Ferguson Community Association for help. And the group answered the call.

“Today they gave me gifts for my grandchildren,” said Neal. “I’ve got three grandkids. Two girls and one boy and I wasn’t going to be able to get them anything this year. This is such a blessing. It's going to make tears come down my face when they come and open their gifts.”

The gift giveaway will help ease Neal’s money troubles while she searches for a new home. But the Association is about more than holiday presents.

“We go out there and we find resources,” said association president Latasha Brown. “We bring those resources directly to our community.

Brown felt a calling to help her home town after the unrest in 2014 that followed the police shooting death of Michael Brown.

“I'm a regular citizen, a regular resident in southeast Ferguson and sometimes somebody's got to pick up the torch to show them that we can do this together.”

The Southeast Ferguson Community Association can help with everything from housing to food. It’s helping Rose Neal and many others get back on their feet and enjoy what could've been an unhappy holiday.

Click here for contact information for the Southeast Ferguson Community Association and many other service organizations in the area.

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