AKRON, Ohio—Michelle Brown adopted two children last year, giving her four youngsters in her household. In October, she lost her job and has since done her best to make ends meet.
This was going to be a lean Christmas for her family.
But on Tuesday, she was gathering presents including toys, games, basketballs, footballs and books for the kids at the East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation offices.
"To have somebody to actually put their hand out and help somebody that really does need it in a time of need, it's really important," said Brown. "You know I'm struggling but making ends meet so I appreciate everything"
800 gifts, enough to put presents under the tree for more than 300 families, were distributed on Tuesday, a record amount for the organization in a time of great need.
"Foreclosure, people are out of a job, no money. It's just hard for them to find a job and this is a place where they come to find comfort," said Quinella Walters, the organization's Holiday Coordinator.
Most of the gifts are new. They are donations gathered by the United States Marine Corps through its 'Toys for Tots' campaign.
"It's going to make me happy just to see her rip open some gifts, you know what I'm saying, that's all I want to see," said Andre Townsend, who was at the offices with his young daughter.
"It's just a struggle right now for everybody to make ends meet and for everyone to come together to make sure these kids have Christmas. And what the actual meaning of Christmas is," said Tony Paige, who was at the offices with his young son. "It's a joy in my heart. I'm happy and blessed just to get a meal on the table let alone put things under a tree."
The organization is open year-round, helping families in need.
For the Christmas program families that apply cannot be receiving something from other organizations.