It was a merry Christmas Eve for hundreds of East Texas children. The East Texas Rescue Mission hosted their second annual Christmas banquet and toy give away Thursday, making the holiday possible for families in need.
"Times were a little hard and tight, so I just decided to call and get a little help," said Deandra White. White is currently caring for her four grandchildren while their mother serves in Afghanistan, "It was a big difference. I went from raising one and then I have four extra ones in the house. I call organizations like this to help out with extra stuff because income is a little tight."
Deandra said with a tight budget, it would have been impossible to give her grandsons the Christmas they deserve. So she, like hundreds of East Texas families, called on the East Texas Rescue Mission for help.
"My joy is watching mothers smile today and watching kids be happy," said Tony Chung, Mission President.
With help from Toys for Tots, the group fed families a holiday feast and handed out toys to kids.
Chung says the need is up; last year they handed out 2,500 toys. "This year our goal was 10,000 toys," said Chung. Mayor Barbara Bass added, "They were expecting 11,000 children needing Christmas gifts this year, and I think they have gone from three gifts per child to two gifts per child."
As the White boys wait for their mom to come home, Deandra says the kindness of the community has helped make their Christmas wishes come true, "I just don't have it to get everything they want. I thank God for what they do get, and I tell them later on they will get more."
Mayor Bass told us that non-profit groups like the East Texas Rescue Mission have seen a fifty percent increase in requests since last year.
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