Eagan woman surprises neighbors in need during ’12 Days of Christmas’

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An Eagan woman is surprising 12 neighbors in need over the "12 Days of Christmas."

Jennifer Peery started a grassroots campaign last December, calling on the community for donations for deserving individuals.

She said the response was so overwhelming and emotional that she wanted to bring back the idea this year.

"It tells me people still care a lot," Peery said.

Peery has a Facebook and TikTok following as "The PikaMom."

She asked for nominations of Minnesotans who are going through difficult times and could use some holiday cheer.

She’s been posting one person’s story per day for people to donate to, over the course of 12 days.

This year’s nominations included a single mother who couldn’t afford a Christmas tree, a waitress at a local restaurant and a group of 47 nurses at a Burnsville nursing home.

Each post brought in hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in donations.

Peery uses the money to purchase gifts and gift cards for each recipient.

She then hand-delivers each one and often posts the emotional interactions on her social media pages.

"Everyone was so down on humanity and so I wanted to prove that there are still a lot of good people in this world," Peery said.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS was there as Peery dropped off $1,200 in donations to a single mother who had to move into a homeless shelter while caring for her 1-year-old son, who has had two open-heart surgeries.

"This is definitely a blessing. Oh my gosh," said Stephanie Nemeth, the recipient. "This is definitely going to be a day I remember for the rest of my life."

Nemeth said her son, River-Kai, has been hospitalized 15 times this year, with more procedures expected in the future.

"I just want my kids to have a good Christmas and, financially, it’s just been hard," Nemeth said.

Nemeth was staying at Dakota Woodlands in Eagan but has saved enough money to move into her own townhome the week of Christmas.

The surprise delivery for her family included gifts for her 15-year-old daughter, clothes for her 1-year-old son, a $400 gift card for groceries and a $500 gift card to Target, along with furniture for her new home.

"This is going to help me a lot and I am going to be forever grateful for this," Nemeth said.

Another day in Peery’s 12 Days of Christmas was dedicated to a mother of four in Inver Grove Heights battling brain cancer. You can read Katie Capiz’s story here. You can donate directly to her family here.

Peery said the response to each post has been incredible and she hopes to continue this effort into the future.

"It’s been a huge reflection of our community and it’s been amazing," Peery said.

If you would like to follow this project and donate to the cause, click here.