It was 12:25 pm just three days before 12/25/2014 and the line at our McCarrick Family Center was long as parents anxiously waited in hopes of picking out a good present for each of their children.
With a room full of gifts donated to Catholic Charities to distribute to qualifying low-income families, volunteers guided each family through the room, selecting one toy for each of their children. Bikes, action figures, dolls, books, soccer balls and more awaited their choice and parents took their time shopping and evaluating. A volunteer, dressed as jolly old St. Nick, walked up and down the line, greeting children and wishing them a merry Christmas.
One father, still wearing his mechanic’s shirt, happily wheeled a bicycle out while his wife pushed a stroller behind with a doll. Another woman held up two different learning toys for a three-year-old. Every parent was able to leave with a stuffed animal.
A magician made balloon animals and volunteers played Wii bowling with children while their parents waiting in line. Local nonprofits set up tables as a resource fair to provide parents with assistance in many ways. Over the course of two days, more than 500 families who had applied for assistance through Montgomery County were expected to come, seeking help.