Hundreds helped in holiday giveaway

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Several hundred people stood in line Thursday at BrookhavenOutreach Ministries to participate in the charity’s annualChristmas Giveaway.

The Rev. Jerry Durr, founder and president of the ministry, saidthe annual event provided both food and toys to needy families inthe area.

More than 130 bags of groceries and hygiene items were preparedto be handed out by volunteers to those who preregistered for thegiveaway. The bags contained both canned goods and a few specialitems for the holiday, he said.

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In a separate area, parents and grandparents entered a used toywonderland where they could pick out items to provide as gifts totheir children or grandchildren. The toys, which were all donated,included dolls, books, vehicles, plastic army men and many otheritems.

One of the first families in line was even given a foosballtable. The game was missing its legs, but that didn’t concern SandyAustin.

“They can put it on a table to play,” she said. “They’ll reallylike this.”

Young volunteers, who were out of school for the holiday break,assisted guests with picking gifts and were treated to a chorus ofgratitude throughout the day.

Durr said there were 182 registrants for the toy line, but thosewho qualified for the groceries were also given the opportunity tojoin the toy line. Therefore, he could not immediately say how manychildren would benefit from the giveaway.

“It’ll be more than 200, I know that,” he said.

The Christmas Giveaway is the climax of a month of activities tohelp people through rough periods during the holiday season, Durrsaid.

In total, he said, the ministry’s food pantry doles outapproximately nine tons of food in December.