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Toys for Kids Provides Gifts to Fort Sill Families

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FORT SILL Okla_ Santa's trip to Fort Sill this year just got a little merrier for military families in need.

With the help from local businesses, the 4th Annual Toys for Kids program officially opened Monday at the Rec-Plex on post. Eligible families who were nominated by commanding officers are now able to stock the space beneath their Christmas trees just in time for the big day.

Organizers say this year, they hope to exceed last year's goal of 1,200 little ones who ripped open gifts on Christmas morning. Of course with so many toys being handed out in this week, it was only fitting that Mr. Claus himself saw to it personally that the event went off without a hitch.

"Lego superheroes and action figures: he's addicted to them," Specialist Rachel Woolsey said.

She and her husband have a very specific list this year.

"He's asked everyday for the past 2-3 weeks for Legos," Woolsey said. "'Is it Christmas yet?'"

Thanks to the Toys for Kids program that kicked off Monday, checking that list twice with Santa won't be too difficult. From baby dolls to race cars to even books and bikes, local heroes can consult the man in the red suit on everything their child could want this holiday season. Organizers say helping those who may have hardships is what the initiative is all about.

"How do we help out these young soldiers that are away from home and have a young family and need a little extra push here at Christmastime?" Fort Sill Family Morale, Welfare and Readiness Director Brenda Spencer-Ragland said. "The support here was phenomenal. It's just absolutely amazing."

That support from local folks and businesses gave the post everything it needed, even gift wrapping, to make sure every Fort Sill Christmas tree was stocked up.

"It's an extra way of showing them, especially in the season of giving, that we are here," Spencer-Ragland said. "We're with you, we appreciate what you do, and we just want to be your family away from home."

By putting her kids first, that's exactly what Fort Sill is for Woolsey and her family.

"It means a lot," Woolsey said. "I'm greatly appreciative. It wasn't that easy to have a really nice Christmas, and it keeps them believing in Santa Claus."

Obviously, Santa has a lot on his plate right now. So even though he won't be there, organizers say they're keeping a tally of popular toys for him, so they can restock shelves with what's hot this year.

Soldiers and their families who qualify can pick up gifts and have them wrapped for free from 10AM-3PM this week through Friday.



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