MIAMI (WSVN) - A South Florida leader and a well-known charity continue to show the true spirit of the season at toy drives held days before Christmas in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

Families on Monday gathered at a community center in Miami to receive gifts, thanks to The Resource Room.

“We have our parents back here, and they’re gonna get toys, they’re gonna get bicycles, they’re gonna get all the wonderful things for this happy holiday season,” said Ebony Johnson, the organization’s executive director.

On hand assuming the role of Mrs. Claus was Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

“We’ve been gathering gifts for several weeks, and we’ve brought a really good collection here today,” she said.

“These kids back here are going to be happy. The families, the parents are going to be happy, and they’re going to have a joyful holiday season,” said Johnson.

Lisa Rhodel was among the parents grateful for this show of generosity.

“A lot of kids don’t get this opportunity, and for them to get this opportunity, it’s a blessing,” she said.

7News cameras captured a wide array of toys for all ages, including Play-Doh, footballs, bicycles, scooters and dolls of every shape, color and size.

The gifts put smiles on the faces of every good boy and girl in attendance.

“Just happy,” said 6-year-old Tamia.

In Fort Lauderdale, The Salvation Army hosted their annual Holiday Toy Shop drive-thru.

“We have all of our families who are being challenged financially, who we want to help,” said Salvation
Army Maj. Stephen Long.

After weeks of collecting gifts through the organization’s Angel Tree programs, the event was run like Santa’s workshop.

Volunteers dressed as elves and reindeer handed out cartloads of goodies, all destined to find their way under a Christmas tree this week.

The event brought joy, not just to the families, but for those responsible for handing out the presents.

“Because it’s a part of giving, and giving is a lot to some people,” said volunteer Bernard Gibson.

The drive-thru also helped lighten a financial load for parents who are struggling to make the holidays special for their children.

“We have six kids, so this is a blessing, with the economy being down,” said parent Rosie Gomez. “We’re blessed to be here and to be able to be part of this for our kids.”

If you’d like to help out and find out more about these organizations to help spread the spirit of the season, click here for The Resource Room and here for The Salvation Army in Fort Lauderdale.

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