'Helping people is a good thing:' Raleigh woman's mission benefits 300 in need

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- She's as unassuming as she is unwavering; a small woman with a big idea and a bigger heart to make it happen.

"This is a village of people that care about people," Mary Brown, the organizer of a major Christmas meal and giveaway in downtown Raleigh, told ABC11. "Helping people is a good thing. Giving is good."

Brown, who does not affiliate with any company or professional organization, decided to mobilize her friends to help struggling families they'd often encounter around Moore Square.

What started as a small donation of socks and bottles of water has morphed into a block party of free food, bags of toiletries and racks of warm coats.

"Once you give from your heart, you know you're doing the right thing," she said.

So just who are her friends?

The owners and managers of places such as Winston's Grille, Margaux's Restaurant, Mandolin, K&W Cafeteria, Lunchbox Bakery and Grow Local Realty, among many others.

"No one can say no to Mary," Wil O'Neal, co-owner of Winston's, told ABC11. "Everybody is donating their time and efforts and making sure it goes right. We're very blessed to have a nice Christmas, but I'd rather be right out there."

Looking ahead to next year, Brown and other organizers are hoping they can get more jacket and coats to donate, especially large and extra-large sizes. The coats can be dropped off or sent to Grow Local Realty's office at 140 Raleigh St., Holly Springs, NC 27540.
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