Thursday, December 14, 2006
More Bang for Your Buck: Toy Charities
Charge it, swipe it, spend it -- as the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear, many financially struggling families will not have the means to give gifts this year. That's why in tonight's More Bang For Your Buck, we're going to show you how local charities are using toys to spread joy this holiday season.
WSVN -- Times have been tough for Leeanne and her 12-year-old daughter Kayla.
Leeanne: "As far as the holidays are concerned, she's very depressed."
For over a year, the family has been living in a FEMA trailer after Wilma destroyed their home.
Now all Leanne wants for Christmas is for Kayla to have a present under the tree.
Leeanne: "Getting something for Christmas for her would probably balance out a little bit of what we haven't had for so long."
And Leanne is not alone -- many parents need a little holiday help but don't know where to turn.
Staff Sergeant Acosta: "The kids are the future of tomorrow, and it's a joy to see them have a better Christmas."
For the 59th year, the Marine Corps is out spreading the spirit one toy at a time.
It expects over 100,000 kids will be unwrapping South Florida's generosity this season through their Toys for Tots program.
Staff Sergeant Acosta: "Whatever is donated from the community is given right back to the community."
If you would like a donation to come your way, it's not too late.
The Marines are working with the Department of Children and Families to distribute toys to families in need.
Keep in mind, the deadline to apply is December 18th, and you will have to supply proof of income.
Staff Sergeant Acosta: "We always try to see if we can help out every family, but, the reality is, you might not reach every family, but we try to do as much as we can."
If you do not qualify for Toys for Tots but still need financial help, many local churches are reaching out to the community as well.
Father Alvarez: "There are a lot of families who are experiencing an economic need and their children will not receive that many presents and toys because of the economic crunch."
For the third year, Gesu Catholic Church in downtown Miami is playing Santa.
It'll be distributing toys to needy families, and you don't have to be a church member.
Father Alvarez: "I think it is good for all during Christmas time to give. It is also very good for children to enjoy these presents and for us to be happy for their laughter."
With the help of Toys for Tots, laughter is what Leanne hopes she'll hear from her daughter this Christmas.
And she has her own holiday wish as well.
Leanne: "She really wants a home more than anything in the world. It's not a matter about gifts it's just a matter of feeling like you have that cozy place to rest your head."
If you're feeling the spirit of giving, Toys for Tots and the Gesu Catholic Church are accepting toy donations for another week.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Gesu Catholic Church
118 NE 2nd Street
Toys for Tots