LUBBOCK, Texas — In November, 9-year-old Riggen Greer – with a little help from his parents – began warming hearts this holiday season with his hot chocolate stand in South Lubbock.
Greer has been stirring up Christmas cheer almost every night for the past couple of weeks. He said his family has a big Christmas and wants others to be able to have that same experience. For the second year in a row, Greer chose to use the money he made to give toys to Charli’s Tree.
3-year-old Charli Jones passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 11, 2019. Her family, at the time, asked people to bring toy donations instead of spending money on flowers for Charli’s funeral.
“Her funeral was in November, so this was a perfect time to also create Charli’s Tree so that we can continue the legacy of Charli Jones through people donating gifts so that we can get them to children that we’re not receiving Christmas presents,” said Santos Moreno, owner of Lake Ridge Chapel & Memorial Designers.
That was the beginning of the toy donation project which has become an annual tradition at Lake Ridge Chapel.
In 2021, Greer donated over $300 worth of toys to Charli’s Tree. This year, he stepped up his game, raising $1,300.
“It was so much fun to buy different toys and give back more than I did last year,” Greer said. “I wanted other kids to get to have Christmas, too.”
For just under a month, Greer was open for business. Rain or shine, he was out selling delicious cups of hot chocolate.
“I knew he had a heart of gold, but down deep it’s a gold mine,” said Kindra Satterfield, Greer’s mother. “He is a wonderful kiddo, and I’m very thankful that it’s instilled in him to give back. It makes my mom heart very proud.”
Moreno said this was their most successful year. In addition to Greer’s donations and others in the community dropping off toys, the Lake Ridge Chapel raised $1,800 in honor of Charli. That money helped buy more toys for local nonprofits and also sponsor public school children whose families struggle to make ends meet over the holiday break.
“I think we’re all proud to be able to help give back to the community,” Moreno said. “In a time where you don’t really see a lot of goodwill, we get to see it here in Lubbock.”
Moreno said the toys have been picked up and were distributed to Connect Church, Los Hermanos Familia, the Children’s Advocacy Center and The Salvation Army. He estimated more than 3,000 gifts were donated to Charli’s Tree this year.
While Lake Ridge Chapel is no longer accepting toy donations for this year, Moreno said at the start of the new year, the online fundraiser link in honor of Charli will be up year-round.
If you would like to contribute, you can make monetary donations on Lake Ridge Chapel’s website.