8-year-old boy organizes toy drive for children at homeless shelter

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PORT ORANGE, Fla. —
An 8-year-old boy from Florida took on the role of Santa Claus this year to help other kids who don’t have as much as he does.

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In a matter of weeks, Leo Sanclemente and a few of his friends collected brand new toys for children at a homeless shelter.

“It makes me sad that they don’t have what we have,” Leo said.

Leo, along with cousins Rosie and Robert Luezinger and friend JW Scott, created the Kids4Kids Toy Drive to make the holidays happier for families living at Hope Place Shelter in Daytona Beach.

“It makes me feel great that not just us are going to have a normal Christmas. That these kids are going to have the same,” Leo said.

The children collected gifts from local businesses and put out a call for help to family and friends. Before they knew it, they had a box truck full of toys to deliver. The delivery is enough for 35 families with 83 children.

Staff at the shelter thinks Leo is a Christmas miracle.

“He had a dream of eight families. He didn’t realize how many families we had. After he realized how many families we had, it grew and it grew overwhelmingly,” Subrina Thayer of Hope Place Shelter said.

Leo and his friends plan to make Kids4Kids an annual event.

“He sees everyone and everything and he wants to help everyone so we’re blessed to have him,” Chloe Howard, Leo’s mother said.

Those at Hope Place Shelter would have still had toys for children under a tree, but because of Kids4Kids, they’ll have plenty more.

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