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Thousands turn out for Christmas giveaway

December 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A down economy did not stop the Fred Jordan Missions from hosting its 66th annual Family Christmas Celebration and Toy Party on Skid Row Sunday.An estimated 12,000 families lined up outside the mission at 445 Town Ave. to receive free bags of toys, food, blankets and clothes. Some people had been lined up since 1 p.m. Saturday.

Hundreds of volunteers worked all Sunday morning to move the thousands of donated gifts from inside the Mission to outside for the waiting families.

A spokesperson says while the mission has received over 50,000 donated items, this year's giveaway has been tougher than most. Donations are down 30 percent this year compared to last year, and 50 percent more families are expected to turn out to the event.

"I'm trying to stay joyful. I don't want to seem down for the kids," said Colinthia Boglin, who came out for the first time. "I want to seem happy so they can be happy."

Willie Jordan, President of Fred Jordan Missions, said every child will receive at least five toys.

Fred Mission spokesperson Suzanna Choi said Mickey and Minnie Mouse will present a Christmas show and sing carols, with Santa and Mrs. Claus as well as hundreds of volunteer elves distributing gifts, making cookies and playing with the children.


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