Holiday Help For Those In Need

SCRANTON — Helping families in need at Christmas time, Friends of the Poor is holding its annual toy distribution Tuesday in Lackawanna County. Volunteers are working to make sure every child has a toy underneath the tree.

The line started forming hours before the scheduled 9 a.m. start of the Friends of the Poor annual Christmas toy distribution.

Dozens of people, in the cold and dark, waited outside Lackawanna College’s student center on Jefferson Avenue in Scranton.

Elena Diaz of Scranton waited to get something for her daughter.

“Sometimes, when times are rough, you do whatever you can to help out, so that’s what I’m in line for.”

Diaz told us waiting in line was a small inconvenience, and added, “I’ll do anything for my daughter.”

Heather Mynyk of Clarks Summit said help from Friends of the Poor is the difference between Christmas and no Christmas.

“I’ve been medically sick for years, and I’ve had several surgeries and I haven’t been able to work in years, and his father works, so all the bills get paid. We don’t have anything left over.”

And that’s where Friends of the Poor comes in.

After a short prayer, it was time for parents to select a gift for their children.

Toys were arranged by things boys would like, things girls would like, and their age.

Everything in the big room at Lackawanna College is designed to make kids happy Christmas Morning. On one side are the toys. On the other side, warm winter clothing, and out in the hallway, a selection of warm winter coats.

The head of Friends of the Poor doesn’t have an exact number, but she expects to provide more families with toys than ever before.

“We pray a lot, the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes, so we are hoping we’ll be able to meet the need today,” said Sr. Ann Walsh.      

To put it in a little perspective, Sister Walsh says they expect to feed 1,000 families at a food giveaway Thursday, a jump of 200 from last Christmas.

Sister Walsh says she’s thankful for something else: the volunteers, filled with Christmas spirit, giving up part of their holiday season, to help families in need.

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