Christmas surprises for children living at a local homeless shelter

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Family House is a homeless shelter that focuses on keeping families together during their time of need. While the nonprofit provides everything needed for day-to-day life, making Christmas happen isn't in the cards. Some generous people in Toledo changed that Tuesday with several huge surprises.

Tristan Womack has called Family House home since October. She lives here with her 7-year-old son, Joshua, and her 3-year-old twins, Grayson and Sawyer.

Tristan says it's been an uplifting experience.

"They're allowing me to start my life over with my children, and there's really no words," she said.

The holidays aren't always happy and Christmas isn't always possible.

"It's a hard time of year especially as a parent and we do everything we can here to shelter the children from the realities of what us adults are dealing with," said Womack.

"Imagine being in here and not having a choice of why you're here. It's just not fair. We decided we're not going to let that happen and they're going to get more presents than most kids," said Brandon Johnson. He's the president of Team Johnson Limo Service.

Parents like Womack are elated and grateful for the holiday miracle. Team Johnson Limo Service and Mavillino Homes raised $50,000.

"Just allowing them to still believe in Santa and know that it's that magical thing still and not lose the faith," said Womack.

Seventy-one children unwrapped $200 worth of gifts, presents each of them asked for.

Of course, Santa Clause made a special appearance. Games and sporting equipment for everyone to share at Family House were donated, too. Each child got tickets to a UT basketball game, plus passes to go bowling and visit Skyzone.

"It makes children understand they're not forgotten. Often times these are families that are truly down on their luck. They don't have and they wouldn't have Christmas," said Dr. Tonya Pace, executive director of Family House.

The night ended with a limo ride to see Christmas lights in downtown Toledo and even after all of those surprises, there's more.

On Sunday, everyone will get to enjoy the Kalahari water park for free. Smiles and happy tears filled Family House, serving as a humbling reminder of what Christmas is really all about.