Jackson County family trying to save Christmas for needy families

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Diane Vice and her elves went on a toy shopping spree at the Pascagoula Walmart Wednesday morning.

"Just get a variety of stuff," Vice told her four holiday helpers.

"What little kid don't like airplanes?" her son commented as he grabbed some toy airplanes.

They spent an hour, loading up ten tiny sleighs with the hottest trucks, designer dolls and stuffed animals.

When asked how it felt to help needy families, Vice responded, "Great! You give back, and that's always a good feeling you know."

Diane Vice and her husband Jimmy own Vice Construction of Moss Point. For the past three years, they've hosted the "Helena Mud Ride", a benefit trail ride to collect toys and donations for Toys for Tots of Jackson County. But when Vice called the organization last week to talk about donating again this year, she learned that the program was canceled because there was no coordinator.

"I said, 'Oh no! What are we going to do? What are the people going to do?'" Vice said. "I just couldn't see giving toys to somebody else when our county needs it so bad. So I talked to a few people and next thing I know, they made me coordinator for Toys for Tots."

Vice enlisted the help of family members and employees. The family even pitched in thousands of dollars to cover the first shopping trip.

"We love to come out. It's exciting and knowing that the children are actually going to get something this year," said Loretta Walker, the program's assistant coordinator.

"I think Diane has done an excellent job of coordinating last minute, and I'm real excited that we can help families," said Christy Paulk, an employee and Vice's niece.

Despite getting a late start and limited manpower, the Vice family is willing to devote their time, money and energy to bring smiles to needy children in Jackson County this Christmas.

"I'm hoping we can touch every family in Jackson County," said Vice. "Just being able to know that we're helping somebody else is payment enough."

Diane Vice is working with Jackson County churches and schools to register families for the program. She still needs donations and volunteers. If you can help out, give her a call at (228) 474-2890.

The family's Helena Mud Ride is on November 27th, starting at 9:00 AM. This year, there is a fee to enter and all proceeds go to Toys for Tots.

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