Receiving blessings and passing them on

Some of the Ames' family children

LaTonya and her husband, Dwayne, live in a neighborhood of Washington, D.C., that's affordable on a single income but plagued by crime. The family, which includes 11 children, were formerly homeless and are grateful for their cozy home.

"There have been small blessings," LaTonya said, "like St. Thomas More." The local Catholic church provides outreach to vulnerable people in the community. A program sponsored by the church helped LaTonya earn her high school diploma.

St. Thomas More has worked with World Vision for more than a decade. As a partner, the church visits World Vision's warehouse in suburban D.C. monthly to pick up clothing, personal hygiene products, and other items.

World Vision has given St. Thomas More backpacks filled with school supplies and helped the church provide Christmas gifts to hundreds of low-income children.

The Ames Family

"If we didn’t have World Vision, we wouldn't have been able to do this for all of them," said Mary Toomer, who volunteers as chair of the church's outreach program.

LaTonya seeks ways to give back to the community, despite the needs of her own family. She feels for the children who have limited parental support, offering them a good word or hug when she sees them on the street.

She has shared some of the Christmas gifts given to her children at church with neighborhood children who might otherwise go without. "I try to be a blessing for someone every day," she said, and teaches her children to do the same.