TYLER, Texas — Christina Leary has a passion for helping out her neighbors, especially the elderly.
Eleven years ago, she started her organization, Saks of Love, to make sure no one ever goes without basic necessities.
"I watched my mom have a stroke in front of me, so I grew up in the nursing home," Leary said. "So she was in and out of the hospitals. And that's pretty much my background, in high school going and living in and out of those convalescent homes, while she got the therapy that she needed. So her neighbors became, you know, family to us. And honestly, I watched those people be lonely every single day. And they longed for the company that my mother had coming in and out."
Fast-forward to adulthood and Leary decided she would use all of her resources to make sure that people living in and out of nursing homes wouldn't have to worry about being lonely or needing household items like food, toiletries or clothing.
"They didn't ask to live in those living conditions," said Leary. "It wasn't a choice for them, is just what society has handed them and they have done the best that they can do."
So she started Saks of Love a nonprofit organization, that aims to provide up to 10 families a month with household items as well as two meals per day.
"So people contact me and just refer people to me, that they can see in their community that needs, I don't want to say a helping hand, but just need somebody to come and just show some love," said Leary. " And that's what we do, we've given the clothes off our backs."
Christina was nominated by her sister Regina Shankle for the Be Remarkable campaign. Regina says her sister is the most compassionate person she knows.
"I nominated Christina for the be remarkable award because she is the biggest giver," said Shankle. "She has a heart of gold. She loves her community. And she just she just gives her all to that. And this year alone, she has helped over 150 families. "
Saks of Love serves people in Angelina, Harris, Nacogdoches, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith and Panola Counties.