Veteran-owned businesses give back to foster children in Fayetteville as Christmas holiday nears

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- As many of us prepare to spend Christmas with family, many children and teens are still waiting to find a family all their own.

But this Christmas, it is the generosity of strangers that is helping to make the holiday feel special for so many children.

That generosity is a way of life for Chad and the crew at Kraken-Skulls: Giving back, reaching out, and serving the community in and around Fayetteville all year round.

The effort is bigger than Christmas or any holiday, it's personal, Chad said, as the crew sorted toys Monday night at the Falcon Children's Home.

"I grew as a foster child, so I grew up In the system," Chad said. "I felt it was good for me to give back to these young kids who maybe were going through what I went through as a child."

After serving 20 years in the US Army, Kraken-Skulls was his business venture after retiring his uniform. But it's more than just business here - it's a family he created through connection.

"We grew up in the same foster care system and in a home," said Kraken-Skulls team member Mason Gaffney.

He also understands exactly what these children go through during the holidays.

"To see a bunch of families coming together and gather and open up presents, and just kind of feeling like you really don't have anyone," Gaffney said.

Partnering with other veteran-owned businesses and groups from the area, these toys will help 92 children have a brighter Christmas that they otherwise might not get.

"It's important to me because I think you have to stand for something that your company can't just make profits, but that you have to make your community better," said Ray St. Peter, owner of St. Peter Pest Control.

Enrique Murillo, CEO of Through Tragedy Comes Light, echoed the sentiment of others.

"We're a family, you know, we're a family, and because it means something to them, it also means something to a lot of people," Murillo said.

They are making sure the children who open these toys on Christmas know that family is the people who love you most.

"I started my own family because I truly didn't have one," Chad said. "And that's what it all comes down to."
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