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Agencies Join Forces to Provide Christmas Gifts for Kids

SCRANTON, Pa. — Hundreds of kids in Lackawanna County will wake up Christmas morning to brand new toys, thanks to a toy distribution by Catholic Social Se...

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Hundreds of kids in Lackawanna County will wake up Christmas morning to brand new toys, thanks to a toy distribution by Catholic Social Services and Friends of the Poor.

It looks like Santa's workshop at the University of Scranton, and Alice Walsh is shopping for her two children. Catholic Social Services and Friends of the Poor partnered to host Gifts for Kids, a toy distribution for hundreds of families in Lackawanna County.

"I think it's actually a blessing. It's giving a lot. I'm so thankful, so overwhelmed to see it all," Walsh said.

"These families are so grateful. You can see it in their eyes. It's extraordinary. And they're walking out of here with multiple gifts, all brand-new things," said volunteer Tim Holmes.

With more than 7,000 toy donations from the U.S. Marines' Toys for Tots program, churches, and businesses, Gifts for Kids will provide toys for nearly 1,800 youngsters on Christmas morning.

"We never want there to be such a need and I know that we've heard a lot about unemployment being very low and the economy getting better, but there's still a lot of the working poor, and people that are working five to seven days a week and just can't make ends meet and that's a lot of who is here today," said Meghan Loftus, president and CEO of Friends of the Poor.

Despite the weather, shoppers still showed up as early as 3 a.m.

"We have to be positive. I'm grateful. I'm cold. It's worth it for the kids, it's worth it," Evelyn Lingham said.

Because schools were on a snow day, some student volunteers couldn't make it, but that didn't stop dozens of others from stepping up to help distribute the toys.

"It's a testament to our area," said volunteer Kris Holmes. "We've lived in Scranton our whole lives and we are so proud that we can make one phone call that makes a chain reaction, and people show up and help."

Those volunteers showed up to help make Christmas morning happen for more than 600 families.