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Joy of Sharing supports family who lost man to gun violence

Salvation Army Joy of Sharing campaign works to help families who lost loved ones to gun violence
Salvation Army Joy of Sharing campaign works to help families who lost loved ones to gun violence 02:18

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- For those who have lost loved ones to gun violence, the holidays often mean heavy hearts for those left behind. Yet, the Salvation Army wants to help through its Joy of Sharing campaign helping some of those families enjoy the holiday season.  

"Chucky was shot on March 12 on Emerald Street and Madison Street outside of the house he grew up in. He was pronounced dead March 14, 2021,"  Jennifer Meleski, mother of Chucky, said.

The day her son lost his life to gun violence is a day forever etched into Meleski's mind.

"We still don't … unsolved. We don't know who did it," Meleski said.

While his murder remains unsolved, his memory is still very much alive in life-sized cut-outs, on pendants and buttons. Most importantly though in the faces of his two children, 11-year-old Shay and 5-year-old Isabella.

"He loved those daughters, oh my gosh, they were his whole world," Meleski said. "Like, everything he did, everything he lived for it was his daughters."

The holidays are made more difficult by his tragic loss, but the family tries to stay hopeful for Chucky's children and his nieces and nephews.

"We just get through it together. if we didn't have each other then it would just be, it is unbearable. But it would just be more, there's no way I would get through it," Meleski said

The Christmas tree is up, the holiday lights are on and while this family's grief still looms large, they're determined to keep the holiday spirit and the spirit of their loved one alive.

CBS3 asked the kids what they'll miss most about their dad.

"He used to put me on his shoulders," Isabella said.

"Talking to him and being able to see him every day," Shay added.

CBS3 is trying to support families like these with the annual Joy of Sharing campaign. There are many ways to donate, including drop-off locations and an online registry.

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