Stacey Howe: Mother says she was turned away from Toys for Tots

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - Stacey Howe's Christmas tree is empty, and it will likely stay that way.

"Every year, even if it's not much, I give them something. This year I have nothing, nothing," said Howe.

Howe was recently laid off from her job as a social worker, and with two mouths to feed, a friend told her about Toys for Tots. But when she went to sign up Friday, hoping to get something for her 13-year-old son Keon, she was turned away.
"To go up there and for them to say, we're not taking anymore applications, we close at three, even though it says, 3:30 to 430 it was hard, said Howe.

When NewsChannel 5 reached out to St. Lucie County Toys for Tots, organizer Nathaniel Wells said over the phone that a large church group had showed up and overwhelmed the one volunteer that was working.

Wells said that the sign up was meant for individuals, not organizations. He also told NewsChannel 5 that the application process lasted for six weeks and Friday was the last day.

"I don't like to see her like this," said Wells.

Howe's son, Keon, says presents aren't important.

"I don't care, as long as I have her," said Keon.

While it's important to mom to put something under the tree, for Keon, this Christmas, he has just one thing on his list. "Seeing her happy after the sad part," he says.

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