Former homeless teen gives back to Gary for holidays

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It wasn’t a sleigh and reindeer, but Christmas arrived at the Ark homeless shelter in Gary, Indiana.

Eric Smoot, a former homeless teen, showed the true spirit of giving. After remembering what it was like to do without at the holidays, he decided to give back to those in need.

“When I was 12 years old my mom had a drug addiction. My twin sister and I were homeless at 12 . . . we lived in her beauty shop,” Smoot said.

Eventually, Smoot moved to Gary. Through a new support system, he went on to college. He now owns his own fitness studio in Wilmette.

Smoot and his clients rallied together to buy gifts for all nine families living at the homeless shelter.

This year marked the 12th in which Eric has helped the Ark at Christmas time.

And each year it gets bigger and better; Smoot and his team donated more than $25,000 dollars worth of gifts and toys to the shelter.

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