DOWNTOWN ST. LOUIS (KTVI)-Christmas came early for more than a thousand St. Louis area children in need, Saturday. Without the event at Union Station, they might not have had much of a Christmas at all.
It sounded a bit like a pre-game pep rally. Mizzou basketball coach, Frank Haith stopped by. The event was hotter ticket than Haith’s 'Braggin Rights' game with the Illini a few hours later.
Sadly, there more people in need than tickets for the Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation`s annual Christmas party for the needy.
“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it. The economy’s bad. People are out of jobs. Unemployment’s terrible,” said Demetrious Johnson, a former NFL player from St. Louis.
“We have around us a lot of people who are less fortunate than we are. One thing about St. Louis, is we have a very generous community,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.
That generosity meant Christmas gifts for about 1200 kids. Each with their own wish list.
“I want an iPad, a laptop computer,” said an 11 year old girl.
“I want a scooter, a football, and a basketball,” said an 8 year old boy.
Still, these kids and their parents, perhaps more than most people, seemed to have the proper Christmas perspective.
“What do you think Christmas means?” Orkeia Warren asked her sister, Orkayla.
“It means spending time with your family and receiving and giving. That’s what it means to me,” Orkayla answered.
“This is absolutely great. Once I pay all my monthly bills, I don`t know how I can really go out and just shop, without going to a dollar store. So this is great for me,” said parent and grandparent, Patricia Lee.
“Christmas for us is a big deal,”' said mother Bobbi Lauer.
Every kid got to visit Santa Claus who handed out black bags to each one. They weren’t just bags. They were full of presents, from dolls to skateboards to fishing reels.
Malik Qualls even got the only one item on his list: a new bike.
“Merry Christmas,” he said, smiling.
A Merry Christmas when it family wasn’t sure if Christmas would be coming at all, this year.
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