STAMFORD — Santa Claus came few weeks early this year to deliver gifts to children in need.
With the help of nationally syndicated talk show host, Trisha Goddard and several NBC employees, more than 200 gifts were loaded onto a truck outside of the Stamford Media Center on Thursday.
The gifts were donated to Inspirica, Inc., a Fairfield County nonprofit organization that provides housing solutions and life skills training for people overcoming homelessness, recovering from mental illness or living with HIV/AIDS.
“Christmas is a time when kids should be surrounded by gifts,” said Goddard. “If they don’t get something because their parents can’t afford it, it increases that feeling of exclusion, like they don’t matter. For many children, these will be the only gifts they will receive.”
Inspirica’s holiday collection will provide gifts to more than 2,600 children in Fairfield County this Christmas, from newborns to children age 13.
This year marks the third year, Stamford Media Center and NBC Universal have donated to the cause.
“They sponsor over 60 kids and they gather a number of general donations,” said Emily AJ Hammond, holiday gift coordinator at Inspirica.
Goddard, a United Kingdom native, has hosted shows in the United Kingdom and Australia. She has been filming the American version of her talk show at Stamford Media Center since September.
Talk show veterans Maury Povich, Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos also film their long-running talk shows at the Atlantic Avenue studio.
“Last year, we had a gift wrapping challenge with Steve Wilkos where he lost to one of our volunteers,” said Hammond. “The year before that, we had a press conference with Maury Povich, where he was helping to load gifts onto the truck.”
While the name Inspirica is new, the organization has been making charitable contributions in Fairfield County for more than 20 years. It was formally known as St. Luke’s LifeWorks.
The organization changed their name to avoid confusion with other closely named entities locally such as St. Luke’s Parish in Darien and St. Luke’s School in New Canaan.
“We went through a rebranding this year,” said Hammond. “It’s especially tough when people who been involved in the past don’t recognize us as being the same group, but we are.”
“Our organization is one of the larger providers of services to the homeless in the region. On any given night, there are 240 people in our beds,” Hammond added.
After several guest appearances on “The Maury Show” as a conflict resolution expert, Goddard recently relocated to Stamford to launch her show. She said her transition from the U.K. to American homes was seamless.
“People are people wherever I go,” said Goddard. “The problems are exactly the same, but the accents are different. I’m doing the same work and I love it. It’s a great family feeling here in Stamford. It’s a great place to do a show from.”