Christmas Spirit Fills Jackson County Thanks to NYC Firefighters - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Christmas Spirit Fills Jackson County Thanks to NYC Firefighters

Over a thousand kids in Jackson County will have at least one more gift under their Christmas tree tonight, thanks to some New York City firemen.

Toys, stuffed animals, and even cases of food traveled thousands of miles from New York to Moss Point about a week ago to prepare for the giveaway.

But tonight, Keli Rabon shares with us the Christmas spirit that friends of 9-11 victims are giving to South Mississippi. From the looks of these lines, hundreds of Jackson County families are about to enter an amusement park.

 And inside the doors, the thrills of Christmas gifts await the masses. "Hey you wanna get a stuffed animal? There you go," of the many volunteers exclaimed.   Kids snatched up bears in uniform. Some got a hug from old Saint Nick. "Merry Christmas!" Santa says as he greets the children. And others feasted their eyes on this mountain of toys.

The New York firefighters that provided these gifts weren't present for the giveaway. But their impact was evident through many kids smiles. "We know for some of these children, this may be the only gift they get this Christmas.

 In light of Hurricane Katrina, they're going to get something positive this season thanks to the firefighters," Ferguson says. Kids behind me had a chance to choose from thousands of toys, like this Tonka truck.

These kids are no stranger to devastation, just as the New York firefighters have dealt with tragedy as well. "Even though we're in separate regions of the country, we've suffered through disasters. They suffered through 9-11 terrorist attacks and we endured Hurricane Katrina. And they could relate, amazingly," Ferguson says.

That's a relationship that thousands of Jackson County families were happy to honor. The age old lesson of giving and receiving reminds both children and parents what the holiday season is all about. "They didn't have to do it, but they have great hearts that they were willing to come all the way to Mississippi. Little towns, Pascagoula and Moss Point, to give to the people here,"

Trena Betts says as she stands with her kids waiting to get presents. Also donated were thousands of dollars worth of Avon gift bags for adults with makeup, jewelry, and lotions.

Any toys, gifts, or food that were left over from today's event will be sent to St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Ocean Springs.

By Keli Rabon

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