Santa would be proud.
The Woodbury community donated thousands of toys for local families this year through a Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf program.
The presents were given away Monday and Tuesday at King of Kings Lutheran Church, where food shelf clients also got to wrap the gifts themselves.
New this year, clients were able to “shop” for the gifts, a change from previous years when the presents were prepackaged and given away at the Christian Cupboard headquarters at Woodbury Lutheran Church.
Leading up to the two-day giveaway, the toys were sorted—for age group and gender—by about 130 volunteers, said Lisa Engh, a Christian Cupboard Board member.
It made for an impressive display at the church Monday.
“It’s been wonderful,” said Judy Houck, who was helping organize the event. “One person started crying when they found out they got to shop.”
Six hundred children were signed up to receive gifts through the program this year, Engh said. Volunteers getting things ready also shared their own holiday memories Sunday night, she said, and most talked about opening presents or having a meal with family.
Christian Cupboard clients got a gift card to a local supermarket along with the gifts.
“So they can have that tradition that the rest of the community is having,” Engh said.
The bulk of the gifts were donated through Woodbury churches, though the YMCA and Valley Creek Mall also helped with the effort, Houck said.
“We were overwhelmed by the response from the churches in the community,” she said. “I’ve gotten choked up a number of times.”
Many of the youngsters who volunteered to assist with the program said they were happy to be able to help other kids in the community, Engh said.
Added Houck: “Children helping children.”