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Toy giveaway benefits military families

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The countdown to Christmas is on and that means many people are making their shopping lists and checking them twice, but this time of year can also take its toll on pocket books.

That's why the American Legion Post in Eau Claire took time this weekend to help military families get presents to put under the tree by partnering up with Operation Homefront for a toy giveaway.

Toddler Harper Vandenbrink was all smiles as she walked out of the Operation Homefront Toy Giveaway Sunday.

“There are some people short on money and they want to get something for their kids too,” her mom Samantha said.

Harper’s parents Thyman and Samantha, who both served in the Army Reserves, say it’s the little things that help this time of year. They said small gifts like the ones they received Sunday from the Operation Homefront toy giveaway mean a lot

“The economy is pretty bad and a lot of people are losing jobs and it just kind of sucks,” Mickyenzie Buck said.

Buck, whose husband is in the Army Reserves, says this Christmas season her family is strapped for cash after her husband lost his job.

“It’s hard on him because he doesn't really have time to shop on top of not having money to shop. So this gives us a chance to not have to do that,” Buck explained.

“When they walk in we give them a bag and say fill it and the kids just love it,” Darcy Clardy the Executive Director of Operation Homefront Midwest said.

Clardy says she has been busy the last couple of weeks, making Christmas dreams come true at other toy giveaways around the Midwest.

“We move it around the state just so we can make sure we invite all of the service members in the state regardless of where they live. This was the first time we hosted in Eau Claire,” Clardy said.

Clardy says the toy giveaway is one of Operation Homefront's biggest events every year, giving back to the men and women who sacrifice for our freedom.

“It’s nice to see the community giving back to the soldiers a lot of people don't see what they go through and what the families have to go through,” Buck said.

In addition to the toy giveaway, Operation Homefront also sends cards and care packages to troops during the holiday season.

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