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Christmas gifts provided for children impacted by deadly Silver Spring apartment explosion

Woman shops for Christmas gifts as part of an event held by Interfaith Works for families impacted by the deadly Silver Spring explosion in Aug. 2016. Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016 (ABC7 photo)

ROCKVILLE, Md. (ABC7) – Non-profit agency, Interfaith Works, opened its clothing center along Twinbrook Parkway in Rockville Wednesday to mothers who survived the deadly Silver Spring apartment explosion, but didn’t feel confident in providing Christmas for their children.

Sophia Reyes, 31, walked the aisles of the thrift store, picking out shirts, shoes, coats and toys for her three girls, ages four, eight and nine. Reyes’ husband works a handyman, but only on an as-needed basis. Making matters worse, a close relative was recently murdered by a gang in El Salvador. Reyes and her husband used their meager savings to assist with funeral and burial services, leaving nothing for Christmas gifts. Interfaith Works changed that.

"Close to 14,000 individuals come through our door every single year,” said Monica Young, Director of Family Relations for Interfaith Works. "This time of the year we all get a little bit emotional because I could not imagine Christmas without the toys and without Santa. It’s so important that we're here for those people."

The look of relief across Juana Montoya’s face was hard to miss upon loading a black plastic bag with toys for her four children, ages, four months, two, nine, and 10. Last week, immigration officers deported her husband to his native Honduras after police charged him with DUI. Montoya’s husband, who worked as a furniture delivery driver, was the family’s only source of income. While the future still looks bleak for Montoya, she is comforted knowing she’ll be able to hand her children a few toys this year.

"The stories that we hear are tough, but you know these are people and families that are working, not only the ones at the fire, every one of our clients have amazing lives with lots of dreams and hopes. They're just trying to make the best out of it," Young added with tears in her eyes.

Interfaith Works would like to help more families at the Flower Branch Apartments struggling to provide a proper Christmas for their children. If you would like to donate clothing, household items, toys or money to the non-profit, click here: www.iworksmc.org

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