Renee Dixon knew that the majority of her students' families were at or below the poverty line and suffered heavily during the pandemic.
Renee Dixon, director at a preschool in Indiana, is going the extra mile to deliver Christmas presents and essentials to her students whose families primarily fall below the poverty line. Dixon of Lynhurst Baptist Church Preschool in Indiana has been taking extra jobs as a Uber and Lyft driver to help deliver gifts to her students during a year that has seen many of their parents struggle to make ends meet. Not only did Renee Dixon give Christmas presents to all of her 50 preschool students, but she also gave presents to their siblings. Dixon was drawing from her own experience when she decided to take up extra jobs to spread cheer among her students. "A lot of the parents were telling me they can't buy their kids anything," Dixon told Good Morning America. "I know how that feels, and I never want a child to ever feel that things you dream about never, ever come true, or that things you pray about never come true, or that the world isn't fair because of their living situation."
It wasn't just about giving gifts but also teaching them the value of being selfless and helping others even when you aren't obligated to. "I want them to feel that somebody did this for me, and I didn't ask them to do it for me, but they did it anyway," said Dixon. When she earned $100, she went to Target and bought essential items along with presents for her students. Due to the decreased demand for Uber and Lyft, she had to dig into her own paycheck to help buy the items. "This year, with COVID and everything that has really been taken away from the kids, at no fault of their own, I had to do something," said Dixon, reported The Washington Post. "The location of where the school is, it's not in the best neighborhood, but we make the best out of everything."
HOLIDAY HERO: Preschool director Renee Dixon picks up a second job to ensure her students and their siblings have presents for Christmas. https://t.co/8MLJFmIM1C— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) December 22, 2020
"Just to put a little bit of hope in their hearts, hey, who wouldn't do it?" she tells @dianermacedo. pic.twitter.com/tKTzdpZDDv
She's taken up a second job with Uber for four years now, just so she could buy her students Christmas presents. Dixon, who has been a teacher for 25 years, was their class teacher previously. She continued with her second job even after becoming the director of Lynhurst Baptist Church Preschool two years ago. This year, Dixon felt she had to do it more than ever because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The health and financial crisis took a heavy toll on those struggling to make ends meet. More than half the enrollment in her preschool had dropped on account of the pandemic.
All 50 of the preschool's students, plus their siblings, received Christmas presents this year thanks to Renee Dixon, who has spent her weeknights and weekends for the past year as an Uber and Lyft driver in order to make extra money to buy them gifts. https://t.co/kkapdQx0JP— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 22, 2020
She was more determined to continue her job at Uber because of the pandemic but the decreased demand meant that she couldn't continue. She then signed up for Lyft and continued picking up whatever rides she could because she knew how hard it must be for families in this difficult year. She had lost three of her family members to Coronavirus. "We are thrilled to see her heartfelt story getting national attention, particularly during a very challenging year," said a Lyft spokeswoman. "Lyft was originally created to help build and support communities through transportation so it is wonderful to see people like Renee take that spirit one step further for her students and their families."
Uber also praised the preschool director for her efforts."We're humbled by Renee's kindness, and we're delighted to help her efforts go twice as far for her community," Uber spokeswoman Lexi Levin Mitchel told GMA."With this gift, we're wishing Renee and her students a safe and joyful holiday season." After her story went viral on the internet, many donated money and toys so she could help more families and kids in need. “We’ve gotten a lot of phone calls from people in Indiana and Indianapolis area, donating money, donating toys and someone saw our interview on TV, and The Washington Post called me,” said Dixon. The Lego Corporation sent her 100 toy sets and books for the kids. “I’m like, ‘I’m not doing anything spectacular. I’m helping these kids, helping their parents,’” said Dixon, reported WTHR.