Hundreds of children receive Christmas gifts

Jarel's Toy Chest event celebrates more than 20 years

SAN ANTONIO – Hundreds of children who otherwise might not have a Christmas experience got a chance to unwrap a gift Saturday.

The annual Jarel's Toy Chest gift giveaway event has been going on for more than 20 years.

For many of the 1,200 children who filled a church sanctuary and a gym, the day marked their Christmas.

"I like the presents and the candy," Abigail Sears, 9, said.

One by one, the children each received a wrapped gift. They then had to eagerly wait until all the presents were passed out before they could open them all together.

Some families started lining up for the event at 6 a.m., an event organizer said.

Jarel's Toy Chest is made possible by New Life Christian Center and other community partners.

"​It's a community event where we have volunteer groups that help, that join in, that wrap the toys, that stand in line and make the food," organizer LaSalle Vaughn said. "The idea is to bring love, joy and smiles to children during the Christmas season."

Both parents and children said they are grateful for the holiday spirit that fills their hearts as a result of the event.

"It's not just about the gift. It's the fact that they're bringing everybody into their home into some place that they just feel comfortable," said April Olvera, a child's mother.

Children may participate in the event multiple years. For more information, click here.