Students donate toys, clothing, lots of bikes to needy families

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS  (WLOX) – They worked like Santa's elves Tuesday afternoon, loading-up the sleigh with bags of goodies, boxes of toys, and a lot of bicycles.

This year, students at St. Patrick Catholic High School in Harrison County adopted 153 angels from the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program.  Sisters Taylor and Reagan Hairston organized the holiday drive.

"We had lots of children from different ages and we also for the first time had elderly people asking for gifts this year," junior Taylor Hairston said.  "Some of the requests were for comforters and food and blankets.  It was just a real experience to help them also."

"It was really nice, you know," said eighth grader Reagan Hairston. "It's good to be able to help people."

About 140 students fulfilled every wish on the Angel Tree, including one from a mother who asked for 'anything' so her three children could have a gift this year.  Other requests included diapers, a karaoke machine, and men's cologne.

"It's amazing, especially when you have young people like in a high school here, willing to help out the less fortunate," said David Ruth, The Salvation Army Maintenance Supervisor.

"I'm surprised we got that much on the trailer.  It looks really good," he added.

And as they filled the Salvation Army trailer with their gifts for the needy, the students had wishes of their own.

"I hope they smile," said senior Ana Gayle Christian. "I'm sure they will be happy and it's what I hope for.

"I hope that they have a Merry Christmas and they know that someone cares," said Taylor.

This is the third year that St. Patrick has taken part in the Angel Tree program.  The gifts will be distributed to the families at the end of the week.

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