St. Louis man brings toys and Christmas spirit to families of violent crimes

ST. LOUIS – For the past 19 years, a man with a big heart has delivered close to 100,000 toys to area schools, churches, and families of homicide victims in the days before Christmas.

This holiday season, Rickey Whittington said he'll deliver 5,000 toys to area kids.

Over the last three weeks, Whittington has hit the pavement, rolling through the streets of St. Louis not in a sleigh or with reindeer but with a large moving van. It's filled with hundreds of toys for families of homicide victims and families in need.

“I can’t correct the mistake, but I can bring a smile to the kids’ faces," Whittington said.

On Wednesday, Whittington made a very special delivery to Cameron Fowler's two-year-old daughter and her cousins. Fowler was gunned down in the parking lot outside Mystic nightclub in St. Louis County on Sunday, December 9 after leaving a birthday celebration.

Fowler's mother said although she cannot turn back the hands of time, she misses her son dearly and she is grateful to Whittington for bearing gifts of joy.

“I am so thankful despite everything that happened, we still wanted the kids to have a merry Christmas.  We are thankful from the bottom of our hearts,” said Bernita Fowler.

Whittington's not done.  He’s touching the lives of hundreds of grieving families this holiday season.

Next stop -- the McDaniel family.  They are still in shock after a deadly home invasion in Hillsdale that all unfolded Saturday that left 21-year-old Ahmira McDaniel, a Lane College student with honors, and her brother-in-law, 25-year-old Dontay Davis, dead.

Davis' six children were left without their father a week before Christmas.

“Making a Christmas for the kids, I’m honored to be in a position to do something like this,” Whittington said.

Whittington said he purchases most of the toys himself but he also receives some donations through his R Whittington Foundation. Whittington hopes everyone thinks about the families who have lost loves ones to gun violence.

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