FREEPORT, Fla. (WMBB) — A Freeport teenager is making a difference in the lives of foster children across Florida.
For the third year in a row, she’s collecting donations for Christmas.
15-year-old Larae Smith wanted to find a way to make Christmas special for foster children.
“Comfort at Christmas is actually a passion project that I started with my family in 2018 after delivering angel tree gifts with my mom. I saw that the gifts were being delivered in black trash bags, not with bows and ribbons, and I thought about that for a while, so I decided that I wanted to do something for these kids because I’ve always had a heart for foster children,” Smith said.
That’s when she came up with the idea to start Comfort at Christmas.
“I came to the conclusion that new pajamas are always one of my favorite memories at Christmas time,” Smith said. “So I wanted to share that because I knew I couldn’t wrap all of the gifts that these kids were getting. So I had to start somewhere small.”
In her first year, they got 38 pairs of pajamas
This year she exceeded her goal of 200 with 262 pairs of pajamas.
“It is statewide. I actually had seven counties participate this year,” Smith said. “And we are so excited to see the big participation and all the people that want to help serve these children because it is our mission to serve our community.”
Smith partners with Purpose 127.
She said a majority of her donations come from Daytona Beach Margaritaville.
This year she also struck up a new partnership with neighbor to family, a foster care program that places abused and neglected children with their siblings in safe foster homes.
“I want to see it grow as much as it can I don’t have a maximum because I want it to exceed that,” Smith said. “I want to provide as many kids as possible with these pajamas around Christmas.
Smith received $1,000 worth of donations this year.
For more information visit the Comfort at Christmas Facebook page.