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RICHARDSON (KRLD) – A Richardson-based charity is making sure that needy kids get toys for Christmas.

Network Community Ministries regularly provides food, clothes, and even financial assistance to low-income families in 14 zip codes. Their service area covers all of Richardson, parts of Garland, and parts of Dallas. During the holidays, they take on the role of Santa as well with their Toyland Express.

“Around the holidays, some of these families are sad because their situations are sad,” says Network’s Kaylan Van Pelt. “Toyland is one of these happy experiences that everyone loves because you get to come in and the Christmas lights are on and the music is playing.”

To be eligible to pick toys from the Toyland Express, Network first interviews families to make sure they live in their service area and meet their income requirements.

“Then they’re given what we call Santa Bucks,” says Van Pelt. “They get so many Santa Bucks for each child they’re shopping for, and then we let them into the warehouse to pick their toys.”

The shelves in Network’s Toyland Express warehouse are stocked with toys for boys and girls anywhere from infancy to early teen years.

Toyland Express began with volunteers just handing out toys to families as they came to take advantage of Network’s other services. Over the years, it’s grown into a full warehouse complete with lights and Christmas music. There’s even a waiting area outside with coloring books for the kids, so that their toys can be wrapped up in secret.

“Our Toyland Express gives toys to about 2000 kids to help them have a great Christmas,” says Van Pelt. “Toys definitely aren’t cheap for their families to buy, so we’re happy to help. It’s definitely one of the most rewarding things we do.”

Network’s Toyland Express is possible through donations made by the community. Any donations may be brought to them at 741 Sherman Street in Richardson.

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