BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Santa’s sleigh took the form of a delivery truck Tuesday as Amazon distributed 2,000 Boxes of Smiles to local families and individuals who experience homelessness.

Inside were essentials like soap and toothpaste.

“Items that are in these boxes go a long way,” Shaun Jones said.

There were also items like headphones, games and electronics. Jones, who experienced a brief stint of homelessness himself, said these items can provide hope and joy.

“It’s definitely an encouragement, inspiration, and anytime someone reaches out to support one going through challenges like that, it definitely warms the heart,” Jones said.

The boxes were packed by more than 4,000 local Amazon associates, who also included a few handwritten notes.

“Just to show their appreciation and spirit of giving back to the communities we operate,” Preet Virdi, Director of Operations at the Baltimore City Amazon Fulfillment Center, said.

Amazon even surprised “The Journey Home,” a citywide initiative to prevent and end homelessness, with a $50,000 dollar check.

“We’ve been raising money all year and this really, really helps us out so much,” Winston Philip, of The Journey Home, said.

Philips said most of the money will help people transition to a more permanent living situation by providing things like first and last month’s rent, and moving expenses.

If you would like to get involved with The Journey Home, click here for more information.

You can also help using the Amazon Smile program while shopping. This program donates a percentage of your purchase to the charitable organization of your choice.

Sean Streicher

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