What to Know
- Lynne Corry, founder of nonprofit Giving Friends, is a recovering drug addict who has found a way to give back to her community by donating gifts this holiday season.
- Giving Friends supports and recognizes positive accomplishments and milestones of vulnerable New York City families.
- Battling for years over custody of her son and drug addiction, she knew that she had to turn her life around.
Lynne Corry knows what it's like to turn nothing into something, and something into a lot. She is the Founder of Giving Friends, a nonprofit organization that supports and recognizes positive accomplishments of vulnerable New York City families. They strive to create better lives for themselves by celebrating them through give a gift program and annual holiday toy drives.
"Life goes on, and because of these tragedies, my personal story, COVID, and Christmas; we have to do this. This is our obligation. I would not have survived or made it into treatment if people didn't help me. I have a lot of wonderful, giving friends so this was easy to name this organization Giving Friends," said Corry.
The organization has earned its candy stripes for over 20 years. Every holiday season, Corry gathers her little helpers including her son Tyler, 24, to host their annual toy drive for thousands of kids in need. Dressed up like an elf, Tyler with a group of his friends, distributes the gifts.
Corry's son is the reason why she keeps going. As a resident at a mother-child treatment program called Veritas, she battled for years over custody of her son.
"I was a mom without a child living in a mother-child program, going to court until I could prove I was worthy of having custody of my own child. It was torture, but I knew that it was 'ok' for me to destroy my life, but, this child deserved a chance, and it was a gamechanger," the 57-year-old said.
Corry has learned that the best gift received, especially around the holidays, is giving back to her community. With the world coming to a halt due to COVID, a lot of families are penny-pinching, and having a hard time providing gifts for their families. That is where Corry comes to the holiday rescue.
"We have loaded trucks filled with gift bags. From hand sanitizers to masks, we want everyone to stay alive, healthy and off the streets. Money isn't everything, but let's invest in giving. We deliver smiles, that is our business," said Corry.
Within Giving Friends, she doesn't do this alone. Corry receives donations from all over. From friends, clothing brands and social media, she plans to reach over 2,000 families this year.
She started at home, and as the organization got bigger, so did the donations and gifts. Her husband, Joe, worked long and hard on renovating a basement of a donated space -- turning their non-profit business into a workshop.
Corry has touched many families all over social media platforms like Facebook, and Twitter, and the people have answered back with ways to help. Corry feels her organization is different from others because she knows what it's like to hit rock bottom.
"I was there, I've connected with the people we've served. I know what it's like to have nothing. This is not grassroots. This is from the concrete. This is my gift of sobriety, and I have the opportunity with my friends to send a message of hope. That there is always light at the end of the tunnel."
To learn more information on ways you can help you can visit their website,