sheletta toy giveaway

Christmas is often called the giving season but for Sheletta Brundidge, this year it was also the season of giving back.


Like Santa in his sleigh, Brundidge arrived at Kelly Court in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward loaded with toys, treats and treasures for hundreds of children there, whom she could relate to.


“When I was growing up here, kind and generous strangers came through and blessed me and my family,” recalled Brundidge. “The year, I am blessed to be that stranger.”


She may be a stranger to the current residents of Kelly Court, but Brundidge is intimately familiar with the area. Back in the 1970s and 80s, she was Sheletta Smith, growing up in the Houston Housing Authority apartment community in a family that she described as “struggling.”


“I remember one year when a man brought a box of food that had a whole chicken in it. I saw my Mama standing over the sink crying,” she said. “I remember when my cousin and I went to the rec center at Kelly Court for gifts. The folks that brought them left us feeling lifted up.”


Now a successful business owner, award-winning radio personality and podcaster living in the Minneapolis area, Brundidge was back in her hometown with her own four children to celebrate Christmas with her Texas family and friends.


On the drive south, her childhood Christmases were on her mind and on her heart and she came up with an idea to make some merriment in her old stomping ground.


On Dec 22, Brundidge personally knocked on doors and stopped kids riding their bikes in her old neighborhood to alert them that Santa would be there with gifts for them the next day.


On December 23, Brundidge hit the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in Katy before the store opened and purchased hundreds of toys. She loaded up carts with dolls, board games, sports equipment, building sets and art supplies; when she went to pay for the playthings, she happily accepted a $200 gift card donated by Ollie’s.


From there it was on to Kelly Court where an excited crowd of children and parents awaited. Brundidge arrived with jolly old “Santa Pat” (Pat Moss) in tow, along with her Houston crew—her girlhood bestie Fanchon Goode and her sister Darcea Handy—and the joyous distribution began.


“It was a full circle moment; I was those kids,” said Brundidge. “All these years later and this is still one of the most underserved neighborhoods in the city. God gave me an assignment to be a blessing to those families, people who I know work hard but might not have much leftover for Christmas.”


Even after giving two presents each to some 200 children, Brundidge’s work was not done.


On Christmas Eve, she knocked on the door of the actual apartment where she was raised to meet the current residents. She gave the two little boys now living there brand new iPads.

sheletta toy giveaway


She also printed and framed the photographs that she had taken of the children sitting on Santa’s lap to give to their families to cherish as holiday keepsakes.


Brundidge had so much fun that she hopes to recreate the event next year when she is again back in Houston for the holiday.

sheletta toy giveaway


“It felt so good to just love on those kids,” she said. “I want them to think like I used to think—someone thought of me and cares about me. Someone wanted to make sure I had a Merry Christmas.”


Source: Sheletta Brundidge

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