December 8, 2012
If you didn't know any better, you'd think it was Santa's workshop. But the hundreds of elves organizing the toys and gathering them according to 3,000 kids' Christmas lists, are actually Toy Lift volunteers and families from all over Central Virginia.
And for some of those, it's a family tradition.
"It's a wonderful event, holiday event, community event and we bring the family to show the spirit of giving. Occasionally, we get the 'Am I gonna get to bring this home?' from the kids but for the most part, we just love being here together," said mother and volunteer Leslie Fendley.
The community stepped up donating more than 14,000 gifts for the annual drive that helps to give kids in need a holiday worth remembering.
A pair of best friends also have a Toy Lift tradition. But 20 years in the making.
Eursaline Inge is the Family Worker for the Charlottesville Pre-School and says she adds a personal touch to her shopping on Sunday.
"I can go in the classrooms and play with these children and see what they like to play with so we get the things they really like. It's so exciting to be able to know what they want for Christmas," Inge said.
Her friend Nancy had only been at the Toy Lift warehouse on Sunday for an hour and a half, but she was already shopping for her 6th family.
"I get to play Santa's elf and shop and not spend any money. It makes me feel great because I'm a grandma too and it makes me feel wonderful to know that I'm making some other families happy on that morning," said Nancy Williams, who also works at Charlottesville Pre-School.
With a best friend or your family, shopping for a child you know very well or not at all, it's all about one thing.
"It's all about giving," said Fendley's 6-year-old son, Walker.
The Kid Lift Foundation will take about a month off before starting all over again to plan next year's Toy Lift.