WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Across the state of Utah, people are reaching out to their neighbors during this season of giving.
In West Valley City Wednesday, dozens of toys were given to families with children.
The event was organized by Alejandro Zavala who started a group called Salt Lake Angels.
“This year has been hard on all of us,” Zavala said. “I feel like the fact that this year shook us all to our core, it helped humble ourselves.”
The 19-year-old West Valley City resident organized the toy drive from his hospital bed. Zavala suffers from cystic fibrosis.
He will spend Christmas in the hospital, but he didn’t allow his health challenges to prevent him from making a difference.
“I love to give back and especially to children,” Zavala said. “They are little angles. They are so full of love.”
The spirit of giving is also alive in rural Utah.
In Fairview, a small town in Sanpete County, the community donated thousands of dollars to buy Christmas meals with all the trimmings for 200 families.
“Within 36-hours I think we raised over $4,000,” said Devron Larson who organized the giveaway with his 9-year-old son Lincoln. “The success of this project was certainly a community effort.”
The father and son came up with the idea after Lincoln gave a ham to a woman he met at a grocery store.
“This lady was older, and I felt like she needed something, so I gave her a ham,” Lincoln said. “She said she didn’t have any meat for her Thanksgiving.”
That moment inspired the Larsons to begin the ‘Helping Hams’ program to donate food to families in need.
“The only downside to this is we ran out of food,” Devron said. “We wish we would have had 500.”
Acts of kindness are having a profound impact in the Utah community. Zavala and the Larsons plan to continue giving after the holidays.
“It doesn’t matter who you are what you do, as long as you are looking for ways to help,” Devron said.
The ripple from the smallest gesture can be felt by many.
“There is hope,” Zavala said. “As long as we keep spreading it, it will go from person to person.”