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Xenia man gives 800 gifts to kids who have lost a parent to drugs

Pizza and dessert were provided to party goers. (WKEF/WRGT)

XENIA, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) – A Xenia man gave back to kids who have lost a parent to accidental drug overdose at the Recovery Toy Drive Christmas Party on Saturday.

Richard Matteoli founded the Recovery Toy Drive in August of this year and has been working diligently to get the word out about kids who have lost a parent to accidental overdose.

“There wasn’t really any programs out there for the kids that are left behind,” said Matteoli.

A recovering addict himself, Matteoli has been sober for two years.

“I’ve been to a lot of funerals,” he said, “and seeing their kids that are left behind, I went looking for something for just those kids and there wasn’t anything. So I went ahead and started something myself.”

He started the program because he has seen, firsthand, the impact that drugs and alcohol can have on kids and families.

“I did a lot of damage when I was in addiction,” said Matteoli.

Through donations, the drive was able to provide 800 gifts for kids who have lost parents.

The kids and families were invited to the Lighthouse Baptist Church on Saturday to enjoy pizza and dessert while they passed out gifts.

Matteoli’s goal is to bring the kids together so that they know they are not alone.

He also plans to give birthday presents to each of the kids throughout 2018.

“This is a huge group of innocent children who are just left behind,” he said.

Though this is the first year for the event, Matteoli hopes his idea spreads throughout the U.S.

“Wait till you see all these kids,” said Matteoli, “their smiles, their faces are all lit up. That’s what it’s all about. That’s really what it’s all about.”

If you’d like to reach Matteoli, he can be contacted through Facebook or by emailing him at matteolirichard@gmail.com.

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