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Torrington native who grew up broke, homeless, hands out free school supplies

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TORRINGTON--Sometimes, those with the biggest struggles know better than anyone how much people can use a helping hand.

Eric Pixley is one of those people. The Torrington native and current Winsted resident didn't have the easiest upbringing: his family was often broke, and even homeless at times. Now, he's making it his mission to help kids find ways to do well.

"We all are going through some hard times lately, we need to spread some happiness and love, and what better way then to give these kids the tools they need to succeed," Pixley told FOX 61.

Pixley worked hard to turn his life around, even overcoming struggles related to a birth mark that is on his face. That's why he started Port Wine & Proud, named after his birth mark, to inspire others.

On Wednesday, Pixley drove around Torrington all day handing out free school supplies to kids. On Thursday, he visited Torringford Elementary School to donate the rest to the school.

This is the second year Pixley has been on "Project School Supplies." He also handed out winter gloves at the school earlier this year, thanks in part to his own money and donations from others.

Pixley is a sous chef at two local restaurants, and just wants to put a smile on kids faces.