LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Instead of giving gifts this year, a Lufkin family has reached out to the families of the victims of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Last December, 20 children and six adults were killed in the shooting.
In honor of their memory, the family made quilts that highlighted something about the victims.
However, East Texas News has learned that the victims' families have decided that the quilts should be given to East Texans in need instead.
Each year during the holidays, this mother of six chooses a family to help.
"We don't give gifts to ourselves; we give to others," Michelle Reynolds said. Newtown was fresh on our minds and we just thought we'd do something special for the families of the victims."
After learning the history of each victim, Reynolds and her family spent a month sewing 27 unique memorial quilts.
"There was so much given to the families that would never probably receive the quilts," Reynolds said. "We did create a book with the things we learned and we sent that to the families."
Reynolds said after receiving an overflow of gifts, families preferred the quilts be given to a local charity.
Because she has a connection with Buckner Family Place in Lufkin, Reynolds brought the gifts to these single mothers who are also college students this morning.
"People just don't do that for people anymore, so for them to do it and take their time and then to think of us," Tiffany Willie said.
The tragedy that took 27 lives in Connecticut last December hits home for this mother, who says one of the victims could have been her own child.
"It was a big tragedy, and it was great to remember things like that because it makes you realize how much life really does mean and all moments that you get mad and frustrated and even with that you still need to continue to love and just be happy," Ashley Atkinson said.
It's the same lesson the Reynolds' children have learned over the years that their father has been deployed to Afghanistan.
"All of them agreed that they learned that life is precious and we can all make a difference," Reynolds said.
This Christmas, the Reynolds will join operation mission box and send gifts to boys and girls in missionaries around the world.