Toy drive will help Poverello House bring holiday cheer to families in need

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Bags of toys are piling up at the Poverello House and volunteers are busy wrapping them.

From there the presents get sorted and labeled in time for Christmas Day. As many as 40 volunteers a day will help with the process.

"These groups will come in get them all prepped for the 24th, Christmas Eve, so then Christmas morning, the 25th, we will be able to hand out those 5,000 toys for families in need," said Cruz Avila, Poverello House Executive Director.

It is a labor of love for Jenny Rodriguez, who has wrapped gifts every Christmas at the Poverello House with her daughters and grandchildren for the better part of four decades.

"I know what it feels like to not have a toy at Christmas and my children don't know that, and I wanted them to understand how important it was to give back. Even though they had all the toys and Tonka Trucks-- but I didn't, but I wanted them to understand how good it feels for those who don't have."

Community support has helped the Poverello House already exceed last year's toy total.

"We've been seeing a lot more families coming in this year at the Poverello House, so I know the need is great. So we may end up giving out more than 5,000 toys this year depending on how many families line up," said Cruz.

The Poverello House will begin passing out toys bright and early Sunday.

"They come through, they pick up their toys with their family, we have Santa Claus at the end. So when Santa Claus takes a picture with the kids we'll have that, we'll have a bag of goodies with the kids, for the adults as well, and warming kits-- and it's just a full on Christmas day celebration that we're able to do," said Cruz.
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