FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Spirit of Giving Foundation has spent more than 15 years bringing Christmas to needy families. The non-profit brings parents to Walmart and hands out gift cards so they can buy toys and clothes for their kids. Last week,
Wink News featured a Fort Myers family that was later called into question because of a parent's criminal record.
Wink News spoke to local non-profits like the Salvation Army and the Spirit of Christmas Foundation. They say every child deserves a Christmas even if their parents are on the naughty list.
Havelyn Johnson is a father to four and admits he's had several run ins with the law.
"I got a couple of misdemeanors. Everybody is not perfect," he said.
Most recently, he served four months probation for burglary, but insists his children should not suffer on account of him.
"It's not about me. It's about the kids period. Every kid deserves to be happy," Johnson said.
Jim Jamieson agrees. Jamieson is the founder of the Spirit of Christmas Foundation.
"Those people need help and that's all we really care about is that people need help," he said.
Every year, he helps select deserving children for the gift giveaway. He even makes house calls.
"I meet the people. I listen to them. I take to heart what I see, what I hear. Then I decide if I would like to help them," Jamieson said.
"He just came over to my house and I'm like, 'Spirit of Christmas, thank you Lord. You know what I'm needing because I'm going through a lot right now,'" Johnson said.
Jamieson is not alone in his belief that every child deserves a Christmas regardless of their family background. The Salvation Army says they do not perform background checks either and hopes community members give freely and without judgement.
"We believe in second chances and we try to give people opportunities to get on their feet and start a new life," said Josue Prieto with The Salvation Army.
"The Spirit of Christmas, that's all it cares about. We helped somebody and we gave them a Christmas whether they want a Christmas or not," Jahnson stated.
So what should people look at for before making a donation? The Gift Giver's Guide is a state-run website that provides users with a charity's financial statements. According to records, the Spirit of Christmas raised $21,000 in 2012 and $17,000 dollars were spent purchasing gifts.