Meet Rhonda Steward: A local Santa for homeless children

Not many people are familiar with what she does, but to the homeless residents she helps, she is known as Mama Rhonda. Rhonda Steward has been collecting and restoring dolls and toys for homeless children since 2013. 

 

Rhonda Steward is a resident of the Kalamazoo Edison Neighborhood. Since 2013, Steward has been collecting, refurbishing, and delivering toys to homeless children. Not many people are familiar with what she does, but to the homeless residents she helps, she is known as Mama Rhonda. 

 

During warm months, Steward holds events in MLK Park to supply homeless residents with clothes, blankets, and food. She also will distribute toys at these events. Her specialty is dolls.

 

“A doll is more than just a doll, dolls give the encouragement of being a teaching tool… the dolls are to set an example to stop racism. The dolls are to set an example for kids to be parents and leaders,” Steward said.

 

Steward gets the majority of her toys from the Kalamazoo Deacons Conference, and the Kalamazoo Dream Center. Some of the toys, Steward finds on bulk trash day. 

 

“What I find on bulk trash day, their pretty dirty,” Steward said. “They just need restoring, and that's what the homeless people’s lives need. They just need restoring just like these dolls.”

 

Watch the video above to learn more about Rhonda Steward’s story.