Matters of the Heart 8th Annual Christmas Toys for Tots event

BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — Matters of the Heart Radio Ministry hosted its 8th Annual Christmas Toys for Tots Event Sat., Dec. 12 at Glad Tidings Assembly of God.  The event was hosted by radio personality Princess Denise Wright from Praise 1590 AM WRXB & 96.5 FM Radio.

For eight years, Wright and her ministry has hosted this event to bless poverty stricken families in the community, but this year she also decided to reach out to families suffering with health issues such as sickle cell and cancers.

Through social media she got the word out. Family members, friends and organizations contacted her with names of families in need, such as Mary Murph, president of the St. Petersburg chapter of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America.

“The vision God gave me for 2015 was to seek out children and parents who have been diagnosed with a disease,” said Wright.

She was able to bless Amber McCaskill whose one-year-old daughter, Carly, is in need of a liver transplant; Alchea Frazier, a mother of two stricken with cancer; Markita Miller, who has two children suffering with sickle cell and a host of other families.

Raising three children as a single parent, Wright is no stranger to the hardships that many families are up against, especially in the current economic climate.

“Many times I didn’t have food in the refrigerator, lights were off, water was off, car broke down, getting evicted,” she said.

But while attending New Mt Olive Primitive Baptist Church some three decades ago, a member approached her confessing to having turned in her name as a recipient for a food basket. “I remember that,” Wright said. In fact it is this very type of act of kindness that has fueled her all these years to keep giving back. “Somebody was always thinking of me, they knew I needed help.”

Although it’s been a long time since Wright needed assistance herself, she will never forget Mother Dora Livingston and Mother Emma Davis who reached out to her when she was in need.

Each year she gives back with the help of the community. This year’s event wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Senior Pastor Dr. Randy Helms of Glad Tidings Assembly of God and his congregation, who always financially support her efforts. Donations from the Walmart on 18th Ave. S, city council members, personal donations and organizations such as Childs Park YMCA all poured in.

This year an anonymous couple donated more than 200 brand new clothing items, toys and shoes, which contributed to a successful and joyous event where more than 50 families were able to have a merry Christmas.

“There is no greater blessing than helping someone,” said Wright. “Only what you do for Christ is going to last and be counted in the end.”

Before the giveaways and food, there was Anointed Praise and Worship by Derrick Isham, storytelling time by Veronica James, Pastor Fred Hinton of Calvary Worship Center Florida entertained the audience, Pastor Roger Asselin from Glad Tidings Assembly of God delivered a powerful message on the theme “Jesus is the reason for the season” and special prayers were given by Marge Asselin and Evangelist Bambi Jones for the infirmed. Mistress of Ceremony was Prophetess Laquanda Everett.

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