LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – More than 1,000 children around Angelina County will have presents to open come Christmas morning thanks to Love In The Name of Christ and the Manger Network.
Local businesses, churches, and volunteers have donated money and time to provide toys and gift cards to families that need the extra help this holiday season.
Organizers say the need is greater than ever.
Kelley Loving says she has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.
"I do have a family. I do have a roof over my head because it wasn't too long ago I didn't have that," said Loving.
Kelley was homeless for weeks, until a friend helped her find work and a place to call home.
The single mom does her best to support her two children and pay the bills. She says it's a constant battle.
"I struggle every day wondering if I'm going to pay my rent on time. Every day, it's very hard."
Thanks to the Manger Network and Love I.N.C who adopted 417 families, Kelley's son 18-month old Austin, will have a Christmas.
"It brings tears to my eyes because it's such a blessing," said Loving.
The community donated thousands of dollars allowing volunteers from several agencies and more than 30 churches, to purchase gift cards and toys to give away.
Tiffany Whitmore says if it wasn't for the Manger Network, there might not be presents under her family's tree.
"I have four girls. Me and my husband, it's been hard for us to buy Christmas gifts this year and we came here to try and get some help," said Whitmore.
"I'm just thankful to be able to come and just get anything for my babies."
Each child receives $25 worth of toys, or a gift card.
"I hope that they are thankful to know that we were able to provide them a Christmas," said Whitmore.
Tiffany says she's blessed. She reminds her family of the thousands of children who won't have anything to open Christmas morning, or families to share them with.
This is the seventh annual event for the Manger Network.
Volunteers met at First Church of the Nazarene in Lufkin to give families their gifts, and share the word of God.
Bibles were also made available.