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Skid Row hosts "Christmas Toy Party"

December 21, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
His hands can barely hold all the gifts, but Ishurika Johnson's little boy is overjoyed to be overloaded. They waited six hours in line to attend the 65th annual skid row Christmas toy party at the Fred Jordan Mission."The kids like toys and they like to be noticed," said Johnson. "Christmas is very special to all the kids, so it's good to have something to give to them."

Santa and Mrs. Claus handed out stuffed animals to the children. Hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donated toys, clothing and food, make the event possible. But, with so many people struggling to get by this year, the need has increased 30-to-40 percent.

"We have seen families who last year were here to give to the poor, they've lost their jobs, and now they are coming asking for help," said event organizer Willie Jordan.

Each family also gets a free bag of food loaded with nutritious items, drinks and can goods.

"I get so much money a month to provide food for the family and were almost out," said David Scala. "I try to make it last but it's hard, times are very hard right now."

Scala lost his job a few months ago, his wife is seven months pregnant and they're trying to provide for their two-year-old son. Thanks to the Fred Jordan Mission, their holidays are a little brighter.

"It brings me a lot of joy when there are other people helping people who don't have," said Scala's wife Lorenza. "People like us that need? we're very thankful."

Now that they've celebrated Christmas early, Scala says he and his family will focus on the future with a new baby on the way and a new year of optimism and opportunity.


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