The Times-Tribune

The gift of giving

Event brings cheer to 825 families

- BY JOSEPH KOHUT STAFF WRITER Contact the writer: jkohut@timesshamr­ock.com, @jkohutTT on Twitter

Alarge-scale Captain America action figure towers over tables of toys and games Tuesday during a toy and clothing giveaway at the Byron Recreation Complex at the University of Scranton. The event, sponsored by Friends of the Poor and Catholic Social Services, helps provide Christmas gifts for the area’s needy. Story on

Sasha Ramos cracked a smile.

The 29-year-old Dickson City woman leaned against the gymnasium wall of the Byron Recreation Complex at the University of Scranton while Richard Marx’s version of “Santa Claus is Back in Town” played through a small boombox in the corner. Her son, “Dr. Karter,” rummaged through his medical bag at her feet. Karter will be 3 years old in two weeks.

Ms. Ramos was one of 825 families who sought Christmas gifts from the annual Friends of the Poor and Catholic Social Services toy giveaway at the university Tuesday. In front of her were dozens of tables bearing thousands of toys, clothing and games.

“I come every year,” Ms. Ramos said.

She and Karter had waited in line for an hour but it was “worth the wait.” Karter rummaged through the haul and proudly displayed his

new “PAW Patrol” toy — a plastic dog dressed as a police officer.

Friends of the Poor and Catholic Social Services have consolidat­ed their efforts for the last three or so years to help provide gifts for the area’s needy, said Sister Ann Walsh, I.H.M., Friends of the Poor director.

Families needed to register to receive gifts by displaying proofs of address and birth certificat­es of their children, she said. There was no income requiremen­t.

The toys and clothing were a combinatio­n of donations from Toys for Tots and purchases made by Friends of the Poor, Sister Walsh said.

The giveaway involved more than 100 volunteers who unloaded gifts from trucks on Sunday and shepherded families through corridors of toys for seven hours Tuesday so they could pick out presents for children.

Isabel Lopez and Harleigh Davis, both 17-year-old juniors at Holy Cross High School, were among the volunteers Tuesday. Both wanted to help because they enjoy seeing the smiles of gratitude from those who came through, they said.

“We wanted to give back,” Isabel said. The charitable giving isn’t over, however. The Friends of the Poor will hold its annual Christmas food giveaway Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. Mary’s Center on Mifflin Avenue.

 ?? BUTCH COMEGYS / STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER ??
BUTCH COMEGYS / STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER
 ?? BUTCH COMEGYS / STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER ?? Toys are on display and people sit as they wait to shop for their children Tuesday during a toys and clothing giveaway at Byron Hall at the University of Scranton, sponsored by Friends of the Poor and Catholic Social Services.
BUTCH COMEGYS / STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER Toys are on display and people sit as they wait to shop for their children Tuesday during a toys and clothing giveaway at Byron Hall at the University of Scranton, sponsored by Friends of the Poor and Catholic Social Services.
 ?? BUTCH COMEGYS STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER ?? “My son is autistic and he likes to build with blocks,” said Alexjandra Alvarado, 29, of Scranton, as she carries a large Crayola building blocks set on Tuesday during the toys and clothing giveaway.
BUTCH COMEGYS STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER “My son is autistic and he likes to build with blocks,” said Alexjandra Alvarado, 29, of Scranton, as she carries a large Crayola building blocks set on Tuesday during the toys and clothing giveaway.

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