Elgin community teams up to help provide Christmas gifts, food for families in need

ELGIN, Ill. (WLS) -- Thanks to the generosity of more than a thousand donors, many Chicago area families will be able to have something to open for Christmas this year.

The line stretched outside the door in Elgin as Maria Soto and her 2-year-old daughter Delilah waited along with the other grateful recipients.

"With everything the past year, it's a big help. Big relief," said Maria Soto.

The Salvation Army and Elgin's Community Crisis Center joined forces to organize the event.

"By combining together, we're able to have our volunteers and donors support, and it helps us to run a successful event," said Melissa Owens, with the Community Crisis Center.

From a basement filled with toys, they have put together individual bags for each of the families that registered. Including Tywain Kimbrough and his wife, who have eight kids to provide for.

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"We did a little Black Friday shopping when we could, but his is the bulk. This is it," Kimbrough said.

They are helping nearly 800 families with a total of more than 2,000 kids. In addition to toys, each family also received pajamas and a box filled with everything they need for Christmas dinner, including a turkey.

"We just want to make sure kids get toys across the board. Everyone should receive joy at Christmas," said Capt. Linnea Forney, with the Salvation Army.

Each of the families had an appointment so they can socially distance and keep the facility from getting too crowded. For many who have struggled through the pandemic for the last year and a half, the help is more appreciated than ever.

"Coming here to pick up gifts and trying to make it home before they get home," said Patricia Stewart.

They've got about 800 bags, each filled with three to five gifts per child. Each is individually wrapped and ready to be opened at Christmas.
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