Military children play Santa at toy giveaway

Organization provides presents for thousands of military children

Author: Cory Smith, Reporter, csmith@ksat.com
Published On: Dec 09 2012 05:35:29 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 10 2012 03:58:29 AM CST
military toys
SELMA -

Hundreds of military children got to be their own Santa Clause Sunday at Operation Homefront’s sixth annual Jolly Holly Toy Distribution in Selma Sunday.

Nearly 700 children picked out 10 toys each. They were donated by Dollar Tree stores. Children also received one premium toy donated by other Texas businesses and charities.

Operation Homefront President Jennifer Cernoch said the event grew out of a need six years ago.

“We had families during the holidays that would call us up and say, ‘I have no presents for my children. What can I do? Are there any organizations that can help me?’” Cernoch said. “This is something that we need to do to meet the needs of our military families.”

Over the next 10 days, Operation Homefront members will travel to Ft. Worth, Austin, Fort Hood, El Paso, Houston, and Corpus Christi to give out more than 150,000 toys to nearly 5,000 military children.

Adam Warren brought his two-year-old daughter Ava to the event to show her that her support system goes beyond mom and dad.

“It’s great to be able to come in here and let them pick out the things that they want and to let them know that lots of people care about them, not just their parents,” Warren said.

11-year veteran Santiago Llera picked out toys with his wife for their two children. He said the afternoon showed just how much civilians appreciate the sacrifice he and his family have to make every day.

“This is just a token, a little gift that the military or civilians give us, the military, so that we can provide for our families,” Llera said. “It’s awesome. It’s amazing.”

For a list of recent stories by Cory Smith, click here.