Needy Families Find a Merry Christmas on East Moana
Jose Gonzales is like most everyone else. For one, he's crazy about his kids, proudly telling us, "Oh, I love them very much." And the story of how he came to be at the Salvation Army's toy distribution is a common one too..money is tight after he lost his job. As he told us, "I couldn't stay on it, and that's the problem I have."
But at the first day of the free toy distribution, Jose got to go shopping for his family. Looking over the selection housed in a defunct furniture store on east Moana, he told us, "There's a lot of cool stuff for the boys."
It wasn't easy finding the perfect gifts for his 2 boys, 6-year old Abraham and 5-year old Jose. Picking up his first toy, he told us, "I think this one will be really nice for one of them. Look at this, this is a very nice gift too." But after about a half hour of careful thought, the search finally ends, as he told a volunteer, "I got one. It is an excellent toy for my 6-year old boy, yes."
A few gifts…not enough to cover the bottom of a tree, but a treasure for a family that doesn't have much. Jose spent about as much time showing gratitude as he did agonizing over his choices, telling the Salvation Army staff as he left, "Thank you very much, I appreciate it. My kids are going to be really happy. I want to thank you, everybody, for your help."
Next up, Yvonne Garland...a new mom shopping for her daughter's first Christmas, helped by TNCC student Vanessa Orellana, who greeted her with a cheery, "How're you? Ok, so one girl? You're going to come right around here..." Vanessa volunteered for one reason, as she told us, to "see parents bring joy to their kids, because they're going to have a good Christmas."
The first day of the Christmas toy distribution was a happy event, but still a bit troubling for those who know the numbers of just how many are having a tough time bringing Santa to their house. Salvation Army of Washoe County Major Michael Zielinski told us, "For us, the number of families needing help is about 10% percent more than last year, which is an all-time high number."
This year's event helps 3,200 families with more than 10,000 children have a Merry Christmas, and they are still a little short bringing toys for everyone on their list. They tell us they need more toys for girls ages 10 to 12.
If you'd like to help, stop by their Christmas center at 115 east Moana Lane, between 9:00am and 6:00pm. You can donate toys until Sunday, December 23rd, and you can also make a donation with a credit card over the phone by calling 688-4555.
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