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Outreach program can't fill kids' stockings

CHAMPAIGN -- Some families are running out of options in the days leading up to the holidays.
CHAMPAIGN -- Some families are running out of options in the days leading up to the holidays. They were counting on Operation Sleighbell for toys. But, it ran out. Now it needs the community's help. WCIA-3's Megan Brilley has more from the outreach program.

They sell everything from clothes to toys for just $1 per item. But, this year, they were $1,000 short on donations.

"My family and I are low income. We are struggling to make it."

It's why Diane Cole shops here for Christmas. Operation Sleighbell puts gifts under her tree.

"Clothes, underwear and socks are very popular. Occasionally we get toys. But, I think they're out of toys this time."

These tables are usually piled high with action figures and Barbies.

"I was a little disappointed, but that's okay."

This year, families have to get creative.

"We might see what we can come up with. Maybe sacrifice a little bit of money out of the paycheck before Christmas."

Everyone has to make an appointment to shop here. Every half hour, dozens come through.

"Merry Christmas. Go shopping!"

But, this year, donations just could not meet demand.

"It's still nice to have coats. They're doing the best they can like everybody else."

Sarah Martin has five kids and three grand-kids. A lot of young ones she's working hard to keep happy whether they have toys or not. These people say Operation Sleighbell helps them make it.

"It makes a difference, whether people know it or not. It makes a difference."

"It's important to use because it gives us a chance to have Christmas."

Families were a little disappointed to see the toy tables bare, but still wanted to give a message to the volunteers for making their holiday a little brighter.

"I'd just like to tell them, 'Thank you, and don't feel bad about the toys.' They did the best they can. I appreciate what they did do."

"Merry Christmas, God bless you."

Thursday is the last day for Operation Sleighbell.

Operation Sleighbell Donations
1420 N. Neil Street
Champaign

Judas Chapel Baptist Church
Pastor Smith
(217) 688 - 2918
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