CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC)– When you step into Teresa Welch’s home, it looks like Santa’s workshop. It is filled clothes, diapers, boxes, bikes, basketballs, headphones and an array of toys. Gifts fill almost every room, and they will be going to children in need this holiday season.
Welch is the founder of the Ride on Cannon foundation, which she started in the summer of 2020. According to its website, Ride on Cannon is committed to honoring 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant. Hinnant was shot and killed while riding his bicycle in North Carolina. The foundation now gives back to other children in need.
“I made a promise to a little boy whose life was cut short, that I would do good work in his name,” Welch said.
This year is the third “Ride on Cannon Christmas,” and Welch easily exceeded her goal of helping 60 children this year. She’s now bought enough gifts for nearly 100 children.
“I also grew up with struggles as a child, and I know how hard it is for parents,” Welch said. “Not having any kids of my own, I feel like Santa Claus.”
But she doesn’t do it alone. Local businesses donate money throughout the year, families fill out applications and Welch takes care of the shopping.
“It takes a village,” Welch said. “I’m so happy that this area, the businesses and the people in it, support the efforts and make this happen.”
Welch told 8News that receiving photos and feedback from children is the one of the best parts of the entire experience.
“There is this precious little 5-year-old girl with this big smile on her face, just as happy as can be,” Welch said. “I started crying because that’s what it’s all about.”
According to Welch, families will be picking up their children’s gifts on Sunday, Dec. 18. She is expecting to place 33 boxes on her front yard filled with gifts for each family this weekend. Two batches of gifts are also headed to help two families in Illinois.