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Giving Tuesday: Community donates money, toys to local non-profit organization

At Northwest Assistance Ministries, known as NAM, donations were pouring in. Within just one hour, people donated $6,000 to the non-profit organization for Giving Tuesday.

HOUSTON - Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone. Today is Giving Tuesday’s turn.

“Giving Tuesday” officially started in 2012, as a way for people to donate to a special cause.

At Northwest Assistance Ministries, known as NAM, donations were pouring in. Within just one hour, people donated $6,000 to the non-profit organization. They also went in person, to help hundreds of thousands of families in need.

“To help so many kids, I think that’s fantastic,” said Mary Ellen Streidel.

She’s a grandmother of 14, who was happy to donate toys to kids in need.

While toy collections are were taking place downstairs, upstairs, kids from low-income households received essential medical care.

“If you don’t have health insurance, or you don’t have another clinic near you, we would love to see you. We do the walk-ins, as well,” said clinic Director, Abiya Malhotra.

Typically, families pay on a sliding scale at the teaching clinic, but on this Giving Tuesday generous donors made sure services were free of charge,.

“It would not be possible with our wonderful donors and their support, and their constant, continued support,” Malhotra said.

NAM provides care, food and other services to more than 330,000 people. It has the second largest food pantry in Harris County. It is set up similar to a shopping market, and families can walk down aisles picking healthy items, such as fresh fruit and canned vegetables, with the help of a volunteer.

“This is a big day for us, it gives us a chance to thank all our donors,” said NAM’s President and COO, Les Cave. He adds that their annual budget is $14 million.

“This is such a strong community, they see what we’re doing, they see the needs that we address and they respond.”

December 15 is a big day for NAM. More than 3,000 kids are set to receive the donated toys along with a special holiday meal.