Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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The Berkshires

Church toy drive spreads holiday cheer to Newburgh needy

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Albany/HV: Church toy drive spreads holiday cheer to Newburgh needy
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The shopping malls will most definitely be a busy place this weekend with the clock ticking down to the Christmas holiday. But Christian Farrell tells us, so too will one church in Newburgh that's trying to make sure Santa has something for every boy and girl in the city.

NEWBURGH, N.Y. -- Outside the St. Francis of Assisi Church food pantry in Newburgh, the city's needy line up as they do most weekends. But on Saturday, a bag full of food wasn't all they were here to get. Esther Johnston came to pick up some holiday gifts for her three children.

"I thank God up above and this food pantry for providing for me," said Johnston.

Inside, donated toys are sorted on tables by age and sex of the child. Church volunteers like Anna Cullen tackle the task of completing the wish lists of the city's less fortunate kids aged 12 and under.

"We all tried very hard to do something special for everybody here in our own community," said Cullen.

"Newburgh has a lot of needy families and we thought if we can just give them all a present to open Christmas morning. That's what Christmas is all about," said church volunteer Rachael Neugebauer.

This is actually the first year of the toy drive. This parish food pantry is typically used to give out about 450 meals a week to needy families in the area. But for the toy drive, some 1,500 toys were collected.

"We were unable to give gifts last year. We thought we'd give it a try. I think it's successful enough that we can do this again next year. I mean I'm very grateful to everyone for their generosity," said Cullen.

After all, it's the spirit of giving which defines this time of the year. Especially giving, to those most in need.

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