Christmas comes every day in Kennett - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Christmas comes every day in Kennett

KENNETT, MO (KFVS) -

Not many things in this world are free, especially around the holidays.

While shoppers suffer from sticker shock, one local woman works to make Christmas come every day for those in need and at no cost.

For most of us Christmas comes just once a year, but tucked just outside downtown Kennett is an annex of sorts to Santa's workshop.

Instead of a jolly man dressed in red, you'll find a woman on a mission to change the world.

"At our house every day was Christmas, 365 days out of the year," said Beverly Alford-Thomas, Founder and CEO of Leonard and Virgie's Place.

Six years ago, Beverly opened Leonard and Virgie's Place in memory of her parents.

"My mom used to always tell us to take a spare smile because it doesn't cost anything," said Alford-Thomas. "And my grandmother told me when you divide love, it will multiply. And I've found that out in more things than one."

Her family's giving spirit is well documented and their legacy lives on through her daily efforts.

Everything at Leonard and Virgie's is totally free of charge.

"It helps a lot because I don't have to spend as much money," said shopper Naomi Jenkins. "I can spend it on things that they really need."

The small building is packed floor to ceiling with necessities that many struggle to afford.

With winter approaching, Beverly is stocking up on coats to keep everyone warm.

Her journey has humble origins. For nearly two years, she worked out of her car.

"I would fill this car up with items that I thought people would use as I meet people along the way," she said.

Clothes and food aren't the only things Beverly has in stock.

If you're short on proverbs she has plenty to spare.

A conversation with her is a humbling education. Every sentence is a shining example of her positivity and generosity.

"I want to be rich in love because that is so much more valuable to me than silver or gold is, to be rich in love," Beverly said.

That sentiment is not often echoed in today's society. It's one reason Beverly and her business have grown to be a most treasured gift, especially during the holiday season.

"You know Christmas is so commercialized now. A lot of times we forget what it is supposed to be about. It is supposed to be about giving, not receiving," she said.

She practices what she preaches.

Beverly doesn't want anything for Christmas. Her one wish is for friends and family to donate instead.

She said she doesn't know what it's like to want for food or clothes, but she's had struggles of her own.

Last year, Beverly was diagnosed with breast cancer.

But she attacked it as she does most things, with a positive attitude, and she won.

Copyright 2013 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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