The Salvation Army's given toys to over 6,000 local children so far. On Thursday, it surpassed that number with the emergency toy distribution, a collaboration with the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots. Hundreds of families lined the distribution center by early morning.
Rokeisha Burrough was just one of many people with a story to tell. "I have a 12-year-old son with cerebral palsy and he's been very sick for the last three weeks and I've been unemployed, not knowing how I was gonna get my kids some toys," she said.
Staff Sgt. Juan Arias says he hears many stories like Burrough's as the emergency toy distribution gets bigger every year, thanks in part, he says, to a tough economy. "We try to cheer them up as they move through the line, like hey, don't worry about it. We're going to take care of you and that's what puts the smile on their face. That's what we want to see and that's our mission, to put a smile on every child's face Christmas morning."
The distribution was for those families who weren't able to register with the Salvation Army to be pre-approved for gifts earlier this week. Burrough says it's a blessing for her family. "It's going to feel wonderful. I got a Christmas tree put at home...no presents up under there. They're thinking they aren't gonna get anything for Christmas, so on Christmas day, it's going to be a surprise for them."
The red kettles that make up 10 percent of the Salvation Army's budget will be out through Saturday. For more, visit their website. http://www.uss.salvationarmy.org/uss/www_uss_shrevport.nsf
You can find out more about the Marine's Toys for Tots program by visitng their website. http://www.toysfortots.org/