No one wants to be sick on Christmas Eve, but unfortunately it's a reality for several children at UMC. But Christmas is looking a lot brighter for some, thanks to the help of some local Marines.
The bags are packed and ready to be delivered. Though not dressed in red, these Lubbock Marines spread just as much Christmas cheer.
"It's very hard since he is going to have to be in the hospital during Christmas probably, but just to see his face and his reaction and the joy it brings him really touches us," said Amy Baeza whose son is in the hospital. Sonny Beaza, 6, was all smiles while checking out his new toys.
"Wish we could be at home for Christmas but we have to be here. Hopefully he gets better," said David Barron whose son is in the hospital.
David Barron Jr., 2, took a break from medication to play with his new ball. His dad says he hopes David gets to come home soon. "He's got his sister at home waiting for him. She's been coming over daily and she misses him a lot and he misses her," said Barron.
Something as simple as the Marines handing her a bag full of gifts was enough to brighten Leah Richardson's day. "She's here over Christmas and she doesn't feel well and it's really nice for her to get these gifts and it kind of perks her up and makes her happy. It's just good to see her smile and it's really nice for these folks to bring these gifts for her and just to see her smile is a gift for us," said Laci and Raymond Richardson whose daughter is in the hospital.
And Leah already knows exactly what she wants to do as soon as she is able to go home. "I'm going to play with my baby doll at home and open presents," said Leah.
"At home or in the hospital bed at least we are together as a family and it doesn't really matter where you are for Christmas as long as you are together," said Richardson.
Despite coming up short on last year's toy goal First Sgt. Aaron McDonald says the community really pulled together to exceed their goal this year. So much, in fact, McDonald says even children not registered through 'Toys for Tots', like the kids at UMC were able to receive gifts.
"We have been able to provide bags of those to these children who otherwise would have had a little less happy Christmas, so it's very personally gratifying to each one of the Marines and volunteers who help us do these things," said McDonald.
And the smiles on the kid's faces won't soon be forgotten.
|IRS Tax Tips: Holiday Charitable Giving|