KANSAS CITY, Mo — For many people, the holidays are about being with loved ones.
But for the more than 120 families in Kansas City that lost a family member this year to gun violence, the loss can feel magnified by the holidays.
That's the impetus behind the anti-violence nonprofit KC Mothers in Charge's event Saturday designed to help those families find a small measure of joy as Christmas approaches.
"To make somebody's life a little bit easier, it's not going to bring your loved one back, but it's going to help you through this time," KC Mothers in Charge founder Rosilyn Temple said.
Seven families, including a total of 10 kids from the area, gathered to receive gifts and household items.
"This is going to be the first year that someone is going to be missing at that table," Temple said. "It's going to be the hole when the whole family has been basically destroyed because, that one life that meant a lot is gone."
Shanikka Shinault and her three kids took part in the event.
"They really made my day," she said. "I haven't been really working and being a single mother is hard. The help that I did have is gone."
The father of Shinault's children, Justin Powell, was murdered June 23 near 31st Street and Linwood Boulevard. She said her children provide the lone source of strength for her to get through the last few months.
"If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't probably be lost — honestly, lost," said Shinault, who hugged and cried with the volunteers as they welcomed her into a group all too familiar with the pain she's dealing with during this year's holidays.
Rebecca Scott, whose son was murdered two years ago at 33rd Street and Indiana Avenue, said, "It's just something you never get over. It's just hard, especially this time of year."
The Kansas City Police Department and the African American Union Leaders donated to assist Mothers in Charge make the event possible.