Opinions & Features Women December 24, 2020 at 11:30 am

This preschool director drove Uber to be able to buy Christmas gifts for her students in need

Ama Nunoo December 24, 2020 at 11:30 am

December 24, 2020 at 11:30 am | Opinions & Features, Women

Renee Dixon went above and beyond to drive Uber and Lyft to earn enough to buy gifts for her students this Christmas. Photo: Renee Dixon

In the spirit of giving, a preschool director worked extra shifts weekends and weeknights driving Uber and Lyft to earn extra cash to buy gifts for her students aged one to 12 so that Christmas will not be canceled for them. The parents of these students of Lynhurst Baptist Church Preschool did not have the means to get presents for these students this Christmas.

Most of the parents were front liners during the COVID-19 pandemic and almost all of them fall at or below the poverty line, said the preschool’s director, Renee Dixon.

Dixon has been a teacher for 25 years but decided four years ago to add Uber driving to her resume as a side hustle to raise money to buy gifts for underprivileged children during Christmas. So, this year, all her 50 students and their siblings are receiving gifts as she did two years ago and last year.  

According to Dixon, one must give willingly, and she wants her students to have that “somebody did this for me” moment.

“A lot of the parents were telling me they can’t buy their kids anything,” Dixon told Good Morning America. “I know how that feels, and I never want a child to ever feel that things you dream about never, ever come true, or that things you pray about never come true, or that the world isn’t fair because of their living situation.”

Dixon believes the year has been tough for parents because most of them lost their jobs, and the pandemic has had adverse effects on their wards as well. Dixon also lost three relatives to COVID-19 and the number of students enrolled in her school dropped significantly.

“This year, with COVID and everything that has really been taken away from the kids, at no fault of their own, I had to do something,” said Dixon. “The location of where the school is, it’s not in the best neighborhood, but we make the best out of everything.”

The preschool director who was using earnings from driving an Uber to finance her philanthropy saw a decline in demand in the ride-hailing app. She, therefore, signed on to drive with Lyft, which also saw low patronage. It reached a point where the only option was to add her own paycheck to buy these items for the students.

With $100 earnings, Dixon bought not only toys but winter clothing for her students. As of last week, she had raised over $2,500 for her students and their siblings. Her efforts have been lauded by spokespersons for Uber and Lyft.

Not only are her students benefiting from her benevolence, but Dixon also gave each of her 12 teachers $50 bonuses for sticking out this difficult school year with her.

“And I want people to know that we as early childhood educators, we’re out here with you fighting,” Dixon added. “We are here, too, and we are trying to make the best of this situation.”

With all the good works she does, Dixon would rather everything was kept under wraps and not out in the open. She does not enjoy being in the spotlight for something she feels should be done effortlessly by all.

“I don’t like a big deal made about this, because this is something everyone should be doing,” she said. “Taking care of kids and making sure people’s needs are met and kids’ needs are met, that’s something everybody should be doing, and all year-round, not just at Christmas.”

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