PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Joey DeBarros is at it again.
The Pawtucket business owner has spent the past week embracing the role of Santa’s helper, collecting and wrapping nearly 500 presents for Rhode Island families in need.
“I’ve been here since Monday wrapping by myself,” DeBarros said Thursday. “We have 473 gifts to give out.”
DeBarros said he’s been spreading Christmas cheer ever since he first opened his clothing company, “Support Is Key,” back in 2018.
“When I started this brand, I always wanted to give back,” DeBarros said. “I’ve done this since my first year in business and I continue to give back every year.”
DeBarros, who’s also known as “Joey Cash,” said each child will receive between two and three toys and will also have the opportunity to meet Santa Claus.
“We’re just here to help the community as much as we can,” he added. “[The families are] very appreciative and it means a lot to see them go home happy.”
DeBarros hopes that his actions inspire others to also give back.
“This is something a lot of people should be doing, not just me,” he said. “I’ve been doing it for so long it’s something natural to me … it’s something I won’t stop doing. Support is key. If you can support someone big or small, do it.”
Next year, DeBarros said he hopes to collect upwards of 600 toys.
“I’m going to keep doing this until I’m gone,” he said. “I will not stop. I will continue to give back to my community.”
DeBarros will be distributing presents on Dec. 18 from noon to 4 p.m. at his store, which is located on Main Street in Pawtucket.
Johnny Villella contributed to this report.