FAIRFIELD — The Riley family is a close-knit family that enjoys every Christmas with each other.
Their children have only known a Christmas with gifts, celebration and loving parents.
But a couple of years ago during the holiday season, 7-year-old Devin Riley wondered aloud what Christmas must be like for children who don’t have any parents.
His father Mario recalled Devin watching a Christmas commercial and declaring aloud that “It’s not fair they don’t give gifts (to foster kids).”
So Devin took it upon himself to give these kids a gift. He collected his toys to give away, but his parents stepped in and said it would be better to give these kids some new toys.
The family took up Devin’s cause and started the Riley family fundraiser. After some research, the family decided to raise gifts for children and teens in the foster care and adoption program at EMQ Families First in Solano County.
Devin and his father, mother Wendy, teenage brother Khalil and younger sister Nia all helped spread the word throughout the community, at their church, in their schools and through the media.
During the family’s first fundraiser in 2011, they raised 129 gifts. This year, they challenged themselves and others to raise more than 100 gifts again through the “Riley 100 Challenge” at Jump Highway in Fairfield.
Within 40 minutes of starting their fundraiser, they collected more than 30 gifts. The gifts range from children’s toys such as Barbie and toy cars to gifts for teens including Juicy Couture perfume and Victoria’s Secret gift bags.
Next year, Khalil Riley said, the family hopes to expand the fundraiser’s reach. For now, though, they’re enjoying helping other children in need as a family.
Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.