Toy donations go out to area families Saturday - - Jackson, MS

Toy donations go out to area families Saturday

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Local families are thanking the thousands of people who donated their time and money to make Christmas brighter for their children.

Thanks to their overwhelming generosity, parents received loads of gifts for their boys and girls on Saturday.

Aylisa Tyler's back seat is stuffed with bikes and her trunk is loaded with a bag of toys for her children.

Tyler's gifts come from a sea of thousands of presents which were distributed Saturday from the Salvation Army's Angel Tree Toy Drive donation.

"If kids need gifts the Angel Tree is where to come," Tyler said

All of the gifts donated to the Angel Tree Toy Drive are estimated at a value of more than $800,000.

The community has generously donated between 25,000 and 30,000 bikes, toys and clothing items, which will make Christmas a whole lot brighter for more than 6,000 local children.

"I just really appreciate the Salvation Army they never turn me away, they're always there when you need them," said Sadie Palmer, an Angel Tree recipient.

This year there are 2,000 less Angel Tree recipients than 2010.

The Salvation Army's Captain Ken Chapman believes that has to do with new restrictions this year.

"Most of them had to attend a life skills class and they had to show us proof that they were doing things in their life with their children to make their lives better," Chapman said.

"It was a good experience I went to the class, it was just ladies there meeting with each other, seeing what I needed, seeing if we can help each other," Palmer said.

The "Toys for Tots" distribution was also held Saturday.

Toys will go to more than 4,000 children.

Donations were down this year for older children and organizers actually had to buy more gifts Saturday morning.

"We take in the money from the marine Toys for Tots Foundation and we'll go buy toys and that's really a lot of the toys here you see, we actually bought," said Marika Cackett with the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Regardless of where the gift donations went, those who received and distributed them want to say "thank you" and "Merry Christmas".

"We're grateful to the community and all that God has provided," Chapman said.

Chapman says the Salvation Army will distribute gifts to senior citizens and foster children next Saturday.

Chapman also says extra toys will be donated to other organizations before Christmas.

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