JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville businessman spent Christmas Eve giving away free toys to children of families that are financially struggling.
Dressed as Santa, Cedric Thomas, the owner of Joy Auto Sales on Philips Highway, has hosted the toy giveaway for ten years.
"It makes me feel good because that's the joy in my heart," Thomas said. "To be able to help others and be able to help at least one person lets me know that I'm making a difference."
Thomas said he purchased most of the toys, but some came from other businesses, friends and families. Celestine Mills helped organize the giveaway.
"Everybody falls on hard times, and we have to be there for each other," Mills said. "That's what it's all about."
Deangelo Calhoun, a parent, said the event helps children who would otherwise not receive a present on Christmas, and it contrasts the violence that's affected the city in the past 48 hours.
"Thinking about the incidents that took place over the weekend with the different killings, for this group to be out here trying to pour into the community, that says a lot," she said.