Luvkids donates infant care supplies to Luis


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ST. CROIX - Santa came early to Luis Hospital.

Luvkids, a long-standing local nonprofit that focuses on helping at-risk children, donated disposable diapers, infant caps, booties and socks to Luis Hospital on Christmas Eve.

"This year have been very, very rough for us for donations," said Charles Nibbs, who with his wife, Anita, co-founded Luvkids. "These are usable gifts."

The gifts on Tuesday went to the hospital's pediatrics floor and to the nursery.

In addition, Luvkids donated some special gifts - some luxurious caps and booties - that will go to the hospital's first two babies of the New Year.

"We have been having a lot of holiday babies, so the caps, the booties - everything - will come in handy," said Monifa Veira, the unit secretary for the Luis Hospital nursery.

Because of the state of the economy and limited donations this year, Luvkids separated out the educational toys it gives at-risk children and the gifts it gives to the hospital, which is struggling with its own financial problems.

"We had to focus on what was actually needed," Nibbs said. Nibbs is a V.I. Police Officer, but founded Luvkids in his spare time.

The organization has a variety of other programs and even does house calls, intervening in situations where children may be acting out, he said.

"I never say 'I can't help you,' or 'I'm not on duty right now,' " Nibbs said.

After more than two decades with Luvkids, Nibbs said he's seen some at-risk kids turn things around and grow up into productive citizens.

"I have seen 'good' kids turn 'bad,' and 'bad' kids turn 'good' in this community," he said, noting that sometimes all it takes to help an at-risk child make positive changes is an adult who cares taking an active role in that child's life.

On Tuesday, Shakirah Ritter, who was a Miss St. Croix contestant Sunday, participated in the donation. She said she has always received support from the Nibbs.

"I wanted to give back to my community and show my appreciation to the people who looked out for me," she said.

Ritter said that even though she did not claim the Miss St. Croix crown, she still intends "to be active in my community" and mentor young people.

Nibbs thanked Luvkids sponsors this year. Norma Davila has been donating usable gifts to Luis Hospital through Luvkids, Nibbs said. Other sponsors for Luvkids projects included Divine Funeral Services, Army & Navy Surplus Company, Gloria Marcus, Pioneer Services, Cruzan Environmental Services, Flemmings Transport Company, Ferrol Trucking Services, Charles and Anita Nibbs, Joel Holt, Plaza Extra East, Stop and Shop Frederiksted; Nigel 1,2,3 Sunny Isle, and Lil Shoes, he said.

- Contact Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email jblackburn@dailynews.vi.

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