INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — With Thanksgiving underway, the holiday season is officially here. For the many families who have suffered heartbreaking losses this year, it would be an understatement to say 2020 has been difficult.
Antonia Bailey wants to help families who need it most this year. Bailey knows pain intimately. Last year, her children Nicholas Nelson, 16, and Ashlynn Nelson, 15, were shot and killed inside their northeast side apartment.
“For a year, I lost my memories of my children meaning the only thing that would play over and over again in my head was that day,” Bailey said. “Not the last moment that I seen them, kissed them, hugged them.”
But, through her faith in God and a support system of loved ones, she has been able to carry on. This year, she organized the “Nelson Siblings: Untold Story” toy drive.
“One day it just came to me for how rough the world is right now with the pandemic and so many people losing their lives, so many people losing their jobs and so much hate going on, I was like ‘I should spread a little love,'” Bailey said. “I can’t give the love to the two that I want to the most, so I decided to put it out to the community.”
Bailey is collecting toys and hygiene products for 60 families in Indy along with two shelters. Though donations have poured in, she is still taking donations until Dec. 1. You can find more information on her Facebook page.
Here are the donation sites and hours:
Kindred Hospital Indianapolis North:
8060 Knue Rd. (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm)
8902 E. 38th Street (Mon- Thurs 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday 9 a.m.-noon)
Capelli Studio Salon:
7901 W. 71st Street (Tues-Fri 12 p.m.-6 p.m.)
“I won’t be able to see Nicholas go to Purdue, I won’t be able to see Ashlynn pursue her gifts in cosmetology or dance anymore,” Bailey said. “I won’t see them be able to give back to the community. So it’s untold. So anyone that comes in contact with me, or that will receive anything from me, their story is still able to be wrote.”
Bailey also shared a message to a hurting city as we mourn 220 homicides this year so far.
“I want to just ask for people to bring forth a change,” Bailey said. “Our homicide rate is over 200. No family deserves to go without their family member or experience losing a loved one to gun violence. We’re currently in a pandemic and it’s the holidays. That’s hard all within itself. Can you imagine losing your loved one during this time? Please, please, please stay safe! We need you here. I absolutely love you, I don’t know you but I love you. We need you here.”