FAMU alumna holds second toy drive

Shakira White with last years batch of gifts.
Photo Credit: Yasmire Whigham

With winter approaching, there are numerous community efforts going on to ensure the holiday spirit floods the city of Tallahassee. For the second time, Shaakira White, who is an alumna of Florida A&M University (FAMU), has held a toy drive for the holidays.  

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

After being inspired by Dollar General’s return procedure on on-sale holidays items, White donated and personally delivered 84 gifts to the homeless and young girls in foster care in Tallahassee.

When items on sale are not sold, they are sent back to the warehouse, which led to White purchasing the items. “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 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 decided to ask for help in hopes to double the number of gifts from last year. White created a GoFundMe account and 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 in this year’s incentive.

“Continue to do great things sis! I 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.

The process of gift wrapping has started.
Photo Credit: Shaakira White

White has collected 288 gifts, including donations from supporters. Despite the fact of White’s giving, 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 is White’s mother who is a big part of her success and also comforts White by letting her know her actions will not go unnoticed.

“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,” explained White’s mother.

White will be delivering her first set of gifts at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve to the HOPE community and will distribute gifts at 6 p.m. The HOPE Community is a part of the Big Bend Homeless Coalition that has support services for homeless families with children and homeless single women.

“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.

If you would like to donate you can visit Shaakira White’s GoFundMe account at https://www.gofundme.com/4pluq14