Each Tuesday, as part of our Community Changers series, we highlight organizations making Memphis better. This week, we caught up with a group helping kids and their families struggling through hard times.

Dianna Madden’s daughter passed away last march due to COVID. She was a mother of two.

Lisa’s Kids is the reason why I got into the Christmas mood. Because, I was not going to worry about Christmas. Because I missed my daughter so much,” Diana said.

Dianna is now taking care of her grandchildren, ages fifteen and six. This past December was their first Christmas without her.

“When we were at our old house, mommy did this and mommy did that. So, I try to pick up. Do some of the thing mommy did to make her feel like mommy is still present,” Diana said. “So, when they called me, did what they did. It helped a lot to see us through.”

Lisa’s Kids is a grassroots organization that provides food, clothing and toys to children that have been overlooked in the community. Lisa Merritt is the founder. It all started in her beauty salon, C&L Enterprise Styling Salon twenty-five years ago when some of the kids barely had enough money for haircuts.

“I started with the clients and customers in the shop. Don’t give me anything around the holidays or birthdays. Let’s take all that and give it to the kids,” Lisa said.

Throughout the year, they would raise money then pick families in the neighborhood to sponsor.

“I would read the letters, pray over them and I would let God lead me to who was the ones to help,” Lisa said.Someone in the community wrote a letter to Lisa about Dianna Madden.

“We provided everything they ever wanted,” Lisa said. “We just asked them to make a wish list and we granted the wish list.”

For Dianna, it was more than items on a Christmas list. It was restoring the holiday spirit. It was helping her put one foot in front of the other during one of her darkest times. And she now wants to pass it on.

“My donation will help them pick another family that they can help. Like they did my babies. They made a world of difference in their lives,” Diana said.

That is why our anonymous donor wanted to give Lisa’s Kids a thousand dollars. Because when you help your neighbors in need, you build a tighter community.

A true Community Changer.