Justice For Lily gifts 364 foster children Christmas presents in 2-year-old's honor
Thousands of presents from all across the world ended up in Mid-Michigan in memory of Lily Furneaux.
Some ask for toys, others want clothes and some simply ask for basic necessities like shoes or blankets. No matter their request, Lauren Furneaux-Bass is making sure they have something under their tree this year.
Christmas gifts for 364 foster children is no easy feat, but Lauren and her group of volunteers say, it's what Lily would want.
"Her favorite holiday was Christmas, the joy in her eyes when she woke up on Christmas morning was amazing," said Furneaux-Bass.
She only had two Christmas seasons with Lily. At just 2, she was brutally beaten and murdered by her step-mother. Two years later, Renee was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Seven years later, Lily's legacy is living on through her mother.
"Knowing that people are remembering her seven years after she is gone and willing to step up and help other children in her memory, just means more than anybody will ever know," said Furneaux-Bass.
While Justice for Lily helps abused and neglected children year round, at Christmas the non-profit goes, as Lily would say, to infinity and beyond.
"Every foster kid is either abused or neglected," said Lynette Furneaux, Lily's grandmother. "Foster children, I don't think that people know that foster parents only get $25 per child at Christmas. And these kids have already had a life that they don't deserve."
Lynette says that's why they choose to help foster children, because those are the children that sometimes struggle to have their voices heard.
Just a few years ago, the organization started An Angel Lily Christmas hoping that local residents would donate gifts to local foster children. The idea soon grew far beyond that.
"They're coming from Lapeer all the way to Australia and Germany, and around the world," Furneaux-Bass said.
While Lily can't be here physically to spend Christmas with brother Greyson and sister Allie, she's here with them in spirit, along with so many other children in Mid-Michigan.
Furneaux-Bass said although nothing can bring Lily back, if her story can save just one child from child abuse, she is doing her job as a mother by fighting to infinity and beyond.