Parents who have been struggling financially got a chance to place gifts for their children under their Christmas trees.
On Wednesday, the parents selected from hundreds of donated items at the Nacogdoches County Christmas Blessing event. Shared generosity made it all possible.
Starting at 9 Wednesday, the first of hundreds of moms and dads went Christmas shopping for their children.
Seven social service agencies collaborated last year when they began to notice some families got more than others. Now Angel Trees, Love in the Name of Christ, Toys for Tots and many other goodwill efforts gather their toy collections in one spot for Nacogdoches County Christmas Blessings.
"We're serving more people and more families than we've ever served before," said Laura Williford, the office manager for Love INC. "We're serving 300 families and nearly 700 children."
Each recipient is screened.
"OK, your number is 95," a person at the event said. "Don't forget it."
Then he or she is provided a personal shopping assistant.
"This is wall decals," said a person at the event. "This will go on the wall."
Sitters are even found for the children.
No judgment is passed and certainly not after hearing some of the recipients' needs.
"I shop for my two youngest," Carmelia Abercrombie, one of the recipients, said. "The three- year-old girl and my four-year-old. She's disabled. She has cerebral palsy and she's legally blind."
There's a joy of giving that makes volunteers happy. And when it's all over there are thank yous.
"And I know that once I get my motivation back, I'll be in next year to volunteer to help out the needy families," said Monique Williams, one of the recipients. "So God bless everybody, and thank you again. And have a merry Christmas and happy New Year. And thank you Erin for helping me pick out gifts for my children this year."
For the first time this year, the Christmas Blessings Event was held at the Nacogdoches County Civic Center. An anonymous donor paid for the rental space.