The Syracuse community stepped up once again to help provide toys for families in need this Christmas.  Organizers Sam Haag and Jill Crook have been running the “Gifts4Kids” toy drive for years.  Without any support outside of the community, around 100 local children received gifts and gift cards.
Toys were collected over a few weeks, and after sorting all of the donations, parents were able to come pick them up to be wrapped and put under the tree for their children.
Collecting the toys is only the beginning of the work.  They all had to be sorted beforehand, and this is a long process to evenly distribute the donations by the right age.  
Haag said, “We have had the same helpers year after year.  Though it started as a confirmation class project, the same students have continued to help with sorting all the toys for distribution.  They are really helpful and make the process go smoothly, and we couldn’t do this without them.  They’re amazing!”
The distribution was a week earlier than it has been in the past.  Haag said, “Due to our personal family Christmases and other things, from now on we are going to do Gifts4Kids a week earlier.  When people were picking up the toys, they commented that they liked picking them up sooner so it gave them time to wrap everything.”
One parent receiving donations said, “This has been a hard year for our family, and I’ve always been able to get gifts for the kids.  I didn’t know how I would do that this year.  I’m so thankful for everyone who donated.  My kids are going to have a great Christmas, and it’s because of all those people who took the time to help.”

About the donations, Haag said, “We were a little low on donations due to the fact that Thanksgiving was a week late and we were closing donation time a week early.  I made a few phone calls and reached out on Facebook, and the response was completely overwhelming.  We ended up with plenty of donations.  I do appreciate those people who step up at the last moment for us - and all of our generous contributors.  All of the community support has been incredible, and it’s like that every single year.”
In addition to individual donations, many local organizations and businesses helped out by offering gift cards, collecting toys, and providing other support to make sure that all of these kids have a Christmas to remember.