As Christmas draws near, hundreds of Oklahomans who may have otherwise spent the holiday alone will be feeling some love thanks to a generous couple from Noble.
Thousands of gifts are being wrapped for mentally challenged people throughout the state. Jim and Annette Brown, along with a group of volunteers, are hard at work preparing to bring smiles to people they say are all too often forgotten about.
With just more than two weeks to go before the big day, presents are being wrapped and stacked inside the Brown's garage. On Christmas Eve, the Browns and 18 groups of volunteers will give 12,000 gifts to 1,700 mentally challenged Oklahomans. Gifts include clothing, food, DVDs and other requested items.
"You're like an old friend [to the residents]," Annette Brown said. "They're so glad to see you. They're more fun to do for because they're happy with anything."
It all started 32 years ago when the Browns first visited a group home for the holidays. Needless to say, they got a lot from the experience.
"When we came home, we decided that was the first year we ever really celebrated Christmas," Jim Brown said.
That first act of kindness created even more. News 9 first met the Browns in August of 2012 when they showed us their "burn barn" full of donated items to help people who lost their homes during the summer wildfires. Since that story aired, their charity has grown with donations and support, so too has their Christmas project.
"I love to go shopping and find what I can [for the charity]," volunteer Joyce Wallace said.
The project leaves lasting memories for the volunteers and the people it benefits.
"Residents are often asking in July if we're going to have Christmas," Jim said with a smile on his face.
As soon as the big day is over, it all starts again. Annette, Jim and their friends immediately start buying for next year.
"You're making people feel better," Annette said. "That's what it's all about."
On top of all of that goodwill, the Browns also make a year supply of birthday cards for each of the residents.
If you would like to help the Browns, call 405-872-8694.