Toledo Christmas Crew prepares to make the season bright

TOLEDO, Oh (WTVG) - One week before Christmas, bags of gifts are being loaded up and prepared for delivery for families in need.

Monday, gifts for a mom and her two daughters were dropped off, wrapped and ready to go.

"I'm excited because I feel like they're going to be excited opening these gifts on Christmas Day," Serenity Thomas, a junior at Whitmer said.

Her mom, Alice, adds, "when I read the description of the family, I immediately said, "this is the one."

The Thomas' have never met the family they chose. But Alice says signing up was her way of paying it forward after someone helped her in the same way back in 2009.

"There was a time in my life where I needed this too," she said. "When you start from nothing, you know what it's like to have nothing and you want to give back."

Dozens of other people also jumped on board to help the Toledo Christmas Crew. Each year the organization, made up of "regular, every day people," puts out a call on Facebook and highlights local families who could use a hand this holiday season.

"The need is there," Riz Pack, Toledo Christmas Crew, said. "It's always there for everything, not just at Christmas."

Pack is leading the charge on this initiative. He and other volunteers pick up and personally drop off every gift on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with Santa, of course. So far, he says 2017 will be busy as they work to provide for around 30 families.

"26 are taken care of and our goal is 30," he told 13abc.

Getting this far, he says, has been easy thanks to the outpouring of support from sponsors and other families.

"This is what gave me the Christmas spirit," Thomas said. " This is what it's all about."

As for Pack, continuing this tradition means more time away from his family around the holidays. But he says, it's worth it, if it means he's been able to make a difference.

"It's in my heart," he says. "It makes you feel good when you know you're helping somebody."

Right now 26 families have been "adopted." But there are four who could still use the help. The Crew is asking for monetary donations so they can make up that difference and help those families.

There is a link to the Go Fund Me page on this story.