20K toys await Jacksonville's children

About 7,500 kids will receive gifts at Children's Christmas Party of Jacksonville


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Christmas is coming early for thousand of Jacksonville children.

On Saturday morning, they'll receive toys donated by the community at the Christmas Party of Jacksonville.

Tammy Stinson has been camped out since 4 a.m. Friday to bring a good Christmas to her children.

"It's a blessing. Some people don't have, so its really a blessing for them to get," Stinson said.

More than 20,000 toys are waiting for Stinson's children and about 7,500 other needy children around the River City.

"Seeing the kids' faces, seeing their eyes all light up, especially when they say Merry Christmas and we say Merry Christmas to them, and it's a really fun time and the volunteers just eat it up," said Diane Halverson, executive director of the Children's Christmas Party of Jacksonville.

The Christmas Party is open to any needy child. It's held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Halverson says there is no need to camp out, just get to the Prime Osborn Convention Center by 7 or 8 a.m. for a good spot.

Children up to age 12 will get three tickets to pick out three toys.

"It's a one-day toy giveaway, first-come, first-serve," Halverson said. "The children don't need to bring qualification or anything, but it is for families in need."

From wagons to scooters to bikes, there are more than 750 sets of wheels to give away. They'll be given away at random. Children will receive a ticket when they arrive, and if their ticket has a special stamp on it, theyll get a new set of wheels.

This is the 14th year for the Children's Christmas Party of Jacksonville, and with record donations of toys, it's sure to brighten up a lot of kids' holiday season.

"Just thank God for the people in Jacksonville for their help," Stinson said.