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Florida woman pays it forward every year, gives hope to family for Christmas

Nancy Potwine gives back after strangers helped her family following brain surgery 19 years ago
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Posted at 2:01 PM, Dec 21, 2021

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY — For eight years and counting Nancy Potwine and her friend Jennifer Cristiano Lévesque deliver a complete Christmas, tree and all, to a family who would otherwise do without.

This year Nancy, Jennifer along with Jennifer’s children Dylan and Kloie, jumped at the chance to fill wishlists and deliver cheer to a single mother of four young girls after ABC Action News shared the family’s struggles.

7-year-old Londyn, her older sisters Aaliyah, Naomi, Jayden, and their mom Latasha Glen could use some merry and bright this year.

Latasha lost her full-time job to a pandemic-related layoff in late 2020. She pieced together part-time jobs but fell behind on rent. Latasha and the girls lost their home in February. Since then this single mom says they have bounced around from place to place.

“We did stay in hotel rooms, we stayed in an Airbnb, we stayed at a friend's house," she said.

The family finally found a low-income apartment but there was no money left over for Christmas, until now. Nancy, Jennifer and Jennifer’s children spent weeks buying and wrapping dozens of gifts along with necessities like clothes and supplies for their new home.

Nancy and Jennifer made the pre-Christmas delivery last week. The girls giggled and squealed as they opened a couple of gifts on their most wanted list. The rest of Santa’s haul will be placed under the tree on Christmas morning.

Jennifer and Nancy could not hold back tears as the children hugged each of them tightly with words of thanks and gratitude.

Latasha cried as she explained to her two Christmas angels, the delivery and help with items for her new home was beyond anything she’d imagined.

“Thank you, thank you guys so much….I do appreciate everything,” she said.

Nancy made a commitment to adopt a family every Christmas after a Taking Action story about her own struggles 19 years ago triggered an outpouring of support from strangers. At the time Nancy, a single mom, was recovering from brain tumor surgery while raising her young son.

“All the pain I went through years ago was worth it seeing the look on the kids' face when they had these presents,” said Nancy.

Jennifer and her kids partner with Nancy every year to share in the shopping, wrapping, and giving. It does take a village. Kloie said it warms her heart to see other children her age able to fully enjoy the holiday.