Wednesday’s Warrior: Waterbury family honors late son by giving back for the holiday season

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(WTNH)– The absence of Angel Velez will be felt extra this holiday season.

“He was so sweet, I want to be like him,” said 11-year-old Arianna Morales as she remembers her older brother, Angel.

“His smile, his smile, and during the holidays he just lit up. I received the news that he had been injured and ever since then, life hasn’t been the same” added Darlene Morales, Angel’s mom.

It was early in the afternoon on September 29, after school was out. Police were called to the corner of Dorchester and Colonial Avenue after Angel was stabbed to death just days before his 15th birthday. Still, months later a memorial continues to grow in his honor.

“We want to continue to honor him, he deserves it, he was just a boy. We have a lot of questions and we are angry” said Darlene.

In a world that has been so dark for the Velez and Morales families, Angel’s mom and two young sisters are choosing to make the holidays bright.

“It’s ok to spread kindness even in your darkest time,” said Darlene. “This toy drive, I decided to put together for my girls because we have gotten so much support from people. We feel like it’s time to give back. ”

Happy to give back, Arianna and five-year-old Aliyah remember their big brother fondly.

“Nice, sweet caring helping. He would put us to bed and put the blanket over us” said the Morales sisters.

Now, they are helping Waterbury kids wake up on Christmas morning with presents under the tree.

“I just wanted to give back because my brother always used to give good information and he would help everybody, he was just a sweet kid,” said Arianna.

Darlene is teaching her girls that “it’s ok to be kind even when someone isn’t.”

If you would like to donate a new unwrapped toy, collection boxes can be found at Waterbury’s  Sprague Elementary School, Bucks Hill Pre-K, and the Child & Adolescent Healthcare Associates. You can email for more information.

The collection ends on December 20th, 2021. Toys will be distributed to children at Sprague Elementary School, the Rivera Memorial Foundation, Inc., and Salvation Army.

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