Volunteers bring thousands of toys for needy children

WYNNFIELD HEIGHTS - December 19, 2011

Like Santa's little helpers, more than 20 volunteers sorted through toys donated by the good people of Philadelphia and beyond.

"It's so many kids that are deprived right now and this is where giving back really helps," said Sean Willoughby.

Each year, the Salvation Army with the help of local businesses collects toys at roughly 65 locations across the city.

With the downtrodden economy, officials were not sure how well they were going to do but they took a chance that people would be generous.

"Like everybody, we were just walking in faith and trusting that God would make it happen for us. We signed up over 700 families," said Major Hester Dixon.

The effort will provide toys for almost 6,000 needy children across the city and it brings a heartwarming feeling for the volunteers.

"It's just devastating the stories that you hear. Children deserve as much as you can give them in love and any way to show that you care about them," said Renee Lance.

"I remember my childhood and how exciting it was to wake up and have toys on Christmas morning. To know that kids with families that can't afford the toys can have excitement on Christmas makes me happy," said Zuri Bird.

Officials say donations at the Salvation Army kettles are down up to 10 percent but remarkably the number of donated toys has grown since last year.

Volunteers will be working late into the night to make sure the toys are ready to be delivered starting Tuesday.

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