BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Saturday morning, dozens of children across the Coast were able to receive a few early Christmas gifts, brought to them by the Biloxi/Ocean Springs Junior Auxiliary working alongside the Biloxi Fire Department, New York Fire Department and the Nativity Men's Club.
"I got me a movie, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," and I got me this Lego game. I'm not sure what it does. I just took it and ran," one little boy said.
Since 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, the New York Fire Department has come to the Gulf Coast just a few weeks before Christmas to bring hundreds of donated gifts for local families in need.
"There's a lot of under privileged children down here, a lot of poverty, and we're hopefully going to be a good influence in their lives," Retired Fire Lt. Tom O'Connor said. "We wanted to make someone's Christmas a little bit better, so by doing this I think we accomplished that."
Members of the Biloxi/Ocean Springs Junior Auxiliary were also there to spread Christmas cheer. Each child was greeted as they entered and were led to tables that were full of toys where they were able to pick out two of their choice to take home. Then, they had a visit with Santa.
"This is just so heartwarming for us. We love putting this together and helping out. That's what we do as a chapter anyway. We service the kids of the Ocean Springs, Biloxi area, and we just love doing this every year. It's one of the most fun and rewarding projects," said Kathryn Leary, who serves as the Santa Program Chair.
The children weren't the only ones thankful for their early gifts.
"It makes me feel good, because it excites them. Anything that makes the babies happy, it excites me. I love it," said Geraldine Anderson, who brought her daughter and two cousins.
This year's toy drive was able to give toys to nearly 300 children.