Generosity saves Christmas for many - Philadlephia News

MT. AIRY - December 18, 2008 Tonight, Santa got a lift from the Wyndmoor Fire Department and gave those staying at the Stenton Family Manor Shelter in Mt. Airy a little lift in their spirits just in time for Christmas.

But this night almost didn't happen.

During last week's storms, Valerie Hines basement was flooded and 1,500 gifts intended for children in transitional housing or shelters were destroyed. She had less than a week to replace the donated toys so the hundreds of families who participate in an outreach program she runs would still have a Christmas.

Hines said what happened after Action News aired her story Sunday night simply amazed her.

"We have been bombarded with calls. We have just been incredibly blessed; I just cannot thank everyone enough," Hines said.

From major retailers to the Wyndmoor Fire Company to individuals who donated a few gift cards, a community came together and replaced all the damaged presents.

"We were able to drum up some support within, raise some money, and go to Toys R Us and pick up gifts," John Fleming of the Wyndmoor Fire Company said.

"I even had people tell me they were unemployed and still sent us gift cards they said we have $25, but we want to send something," Hines said.

The Super Wal-Mart in Willow Grove donated an air hockey table, game chairs, a Wii, video games and board games, all so the Stenton Family Manor could add to their recreation room.

"Today ad all week has been overwhelming; I've just been crying, my face has been swelled up all week, it's just an incredible blessing," Hines said.

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