Updated 12/25/2012 11:37 AM
One hundred years of giving out toys
Christmas morning is usually spent with family sitting around the tree. But hundreds of people in Chemung County put that aside to help out the less fortunate. Our Katie Husband takes us to the packed Arctic League, where volunteers filled their arms and delivered toys to children.
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ELMIRA, N.Y. -- "Kids are important. Christmas is about the kids it really is, it's about the kids, it's not about the adults, it's about the kids," said Dorothy Allen, volunteer.
So when kids are in need, the Arctic League and its team of volunteers step in to help.
"My daughter said she wanted to deliver this year so, I couldn't turn her down," said Pat O'Donnell, volunteer.
Christmas morning at the league's Elmira headquarters was packed with Chemung County residents eager to help distribute the toys to families in need.
"We were pretty overwhelmed when we showed up and saw how long the line actually was," said O'Donnell.
Arctic League members tell us around 800 or more showed up.
"Everybody is excited, everybody is happy. They give up their Christmas morning, and so many youngsters here too, to help," said Tom Bruner, Arctic League member.
And the extra effort warms hearts.
"They get so much good feeling about arriving at a home and delivering these packages," said Bruner.
"Ever since I saw that first person give me that smile in the morning I felt just joy," said Matt Nichols, volunteer.
A tradition that happens year after year with one mission in mind, no child is left empty handed on Christmas morning.
"We only do this for one reason. And that is to ensure that every needy child has a Merry Christmas, there's no other purpose of the Arctic League," said Bruner.
For one hundred years and counting the Arctic League and its 'little helpers' will be there to provide a joyous Christmas morning.
"And anybody that has been a part of this wants to do it every year," said Bruner.
Many first time volunteers said they are eager to come back next year and do it all over again.
The Arctic League served more than 1,700 families this Christmas. Those numbers were up a bit from last year.