Salvation Army in North Philadelphia gifts parents on tight budgets with bags of toys

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Jessica Torres of North Philadelphia is excited to see her four children's faces light up Christmas morning.

Torres worried that she wouldn't be able to afford any toys for her children this year. But her prayers were answered by the Salvation Army.

"Oh my God, it's going to bring so much joy to my heart because kids should always have a Christmas," Torres said.

On Friday, the Tabernacle Community Center was a huge blessing for many parents in North Philadelphia during a challenging year amid the pandemic.

"It's been a real struggle. I lost my job. I'm not receiving any type of assistance right now," said Torres.

It was a smooth operation with volunteers sorting through toys, then packing bags so local children can be happy.

The center serves one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city.

"This is a community that needs help, and we are here to help them," said Executive Director Maj. Miguel Robinson.

The toys are going out to nearly 600 families and will make Christmas bright for close to 1,300 children.

The Salvation Army says amid job loss and the pandemic, the need for help is greater than ever before.

"I got three kids. I'm not working right now. It's hard," said Omar Gonzalez.

Torres, who can relate, says this is an even bigger blessing for her son who has autism.

"He loves everything, and everything is a joy to him. So to see him open these gifts is the best feeling in the world," she said.
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