Hometown Hero: Toni Walker

Published: Feb. 8, 2019 at 6:24 PM EST
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Sometimes it takes just one person to start a movement that will help to make a difference.

That's the case with Toni Walker. Almost a year ago, she started a program called Backpack Blessings.

"I was on a prayer walk with my small group from Gateway Christian Church and as we were walking, there was a homeless man on a bench," Walker said. "We were praying in an area and he looked up and he didn't say anything. He didn't ask for anything but he was there by himself. So I went over to him later and started praying with him and my family and I brought him some food later and it was just on my heart that we can do more."

That was the spark she needed to start the program.

"I just started collecting things to give to the homeless shelter and to the foster facilities," Walker said.

Walker takes donations from anyone who feels compelled to give. She uses all those donations to pack backpacks to take to the homeless shelters and to the foster care facilities.

"We've just been growing. We've given out over 300 bags to either the homeless or foster care facilities. It just keeps growing," Walker said.

Walker says she is glad to see her program is helping so many people, but says she also feels guilty.

"It's kind of an odd feeling, but I feel guilty. I have a 13-year-old and she gets anything she wants. So to know there's a kid out there who doesn't have a toothbrush. I know personally I can't help every child out there. One person can't do much but if we all work together, we can do so much and show these children and the homeless that there is somebody thinking about you," Walker said.

Many of Walker's co-workers at Teays Pediatrics help her with the program. Many of them make donations on a regular basis and help her pack backpacks.

And it was one of her co-workers that nominated her to be this weeks WSAZ Hometown Hero.

"She had this idea and ran with it. It just really touched me. Everyone has their own responsibilities with their own families and she took on added responsibility to make sure children were taken care of," said Nikki White.

The Backpack Blessings program is always taking donations.

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