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Church hands out toys for tots

Posted: December 21, 2008 8:33 p.m.
Updated: December 22, 2008 4:55 a.m.

One-year-old Kenia Ortiz, of Newhall, receives a gift from Toys for Tots at Victory Tabernacle Church Sunday.

Dozens of kids ran in circles on the lawn of Victory Tabernacle Church Sunday, clutching boxes nearly as big as they are, as church members handed out toys to Santa Clarita's less fortunate tots.

"Coming here and getting toys and a free Christmas dinner is everything to them," said Assistant Pastor Michael Oscal.

The church, which opened about a year ago in Valencia, hosted a dinner and handed out about 80 gifts to kids in low-income families courtesy of Toys for Tots.

"A lot of these people live in a little trailer," Oscal said. "You go to their homes and they have a sheet separating one bed from another because they have so many family members living there. They are very poor."

Many kids didn't hesitate to rip off the bows and shiny wrapping paper and reveal their big surprise.

Others, however, wanted to wait.

"Most of these kids aren't receiving anything other than what they got here today," said Pastor Jesse DeAro.

Canyon Country resident Sherry Wright brought six nephews and her two sons to the event she called "a blessing."

Each of her nephews opened their gifts right away except for 12-year-old Cecil McClendon. He's waiting until Christmas morning.

"His family is a family of 10 kids," Wright said. "He wasn't going to have any presents on Christmas. Now he's going to be excited."

He said church members scouted out some of the more disadvantaged areas of the Santa Clarita Valley and spread the word to find families in need.

"We went all over to try to help out," DeAro said. "The main thing is we're trying to show the love of God in everything we do."


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