PETAL, MS (WDAM) - Children in the Petal area got Christmas a little early thanks to a local charity.
The Petal Children's Task Force gave toys and goodies to 200 local children
Petal Children's Task Force Executive Director Demaris Lee said the group has been doing this every year since 1989.
"We're proud and have been so blessed," she said. "Now we're in a building that Asbury lets us use and we have so much more room and we're able to help more people. I know I am so blessed and God has blessed me so much it's great to see that you can help someone else and when you help someone else you feel good inside too."
Local first responders and volunteers, including the Petal Police and Fire Departments as well as staff from the Forrest County Emergency Management and the Forrest County Sheriff's Departments, helped direct traffic and pass out food to hundreds who came by.
Also, the Petal Gideons Camp, representing Gideons International, gave out bibles to anyone who wanted one.
These New Testament Bibles are called PWT's or personal workers testament.
Nollie Beaumont from the Gideons group brought his wife and grandson along to help.
"This is a great opportunity to witness to people and to spread God's word and in the end, that's what we're here for," Beaumont said.
Beaumont's grandson is 13-year-old Nick Oliver, a young volunteer and Boy Scout.
"It makes me feel helpful because other people don't have toys and I have a lot," Oliver said. "Because my family, we do good. And I like giving people more things to help them out with their Christmas instead of just making our own lives better, it's making their lives better too."
The toy drive helped about 140 families with food and Christmas presents.
Food items included milk, bread and even a Christmas turkey from the Task Force food bank.
Task Force director Lee said that Christian Services of Hattiesburg donated several cases of milk that was passed out to those who came to get the toys.