Coast Elves Aim To Make Holiday Season Happy

Christmas wouldn't be as bright for many children without any toys.

That's where Coast Cruisers and the Pink Ladies of the Gulf Coast step in.

"We're doing this for people who perhaps are a little less fortunate than we are. It's just an opportunity for us to give something back to the community," said Coast Cruizers member Tommy McKiernon.

For seven years now, the Santa's Elf's Cruis'n event collects money, food, and toys for such organizations as The Fireman's Doll and Toy Fund, the Women's Center for Nonviolence, and the Hope Haven Children's Shelter.

"Every year, we've averaged about five truckloads of toys. This year we're a little short, but we'll come back strong in the future," said Pink Ladies member Sara Ward.

The event was a little different this year.

The group was not able to actually parade down highway 90 in their classic cars as in years past.

But the end result will be the same, putting a smile on a few faces during the holidays.

Hope Haven director Terry Latham knows that for sure.

"It's tough to be in a shelter at Christmas time you know. And they don't think they're gonna have Christmas. So when Christmas morning shows up for them, and we also keep the toys for mid-January, the end of January. We get kids that come in 15, 20th of January. They don't have a Christmas tree. Never got any presents. So we extend our Christmas season thanks to these people," said Latham.

The event raised 1,300 dollars for Hope Haven Children's Center, as well as one thousand dollars for the Gulf Coast Women's Center of Nonviolence.

The Bay St. Louis Fire Department will distribute all of those toys to those who need them most.