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Christmas Eve block party provides gifts for hundreds of kids

'We have such a tough economy right now, and it's really hard for families to make ends meet,' Maura Plante says
Christmas Eve Block Party.JPG
Posted at 8:20 PM, Dec 24, 2022

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Hundreds of families on Saturday took part in the fifth annual Christmas Eve Block Party, which aims to make sure all young people across Palm Beach County have a gift this holiday season.

"It’s fun getting new toys for Christmas," one young girl told WPTV.

The event took place on Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach.

The organizations that worked together to host this event included Maura Plante with Living Hungry, Subculture Restaurant Group owner Rodney Mayo and Hospitality Helping Hands.

Plante said it's an unfortunate reality that not every child will have a present under the tree this Christmas.

"We have such a tough economy right now, and it's really hard for families to make ends meet," Plante said.

"It's for some of the kids that are less fortunate," Mayo said. "A lot of the community struggles to buy one toy, so one toy can certainly put a lot of smiles on a kid's face."

"A lot of kids don't have gifts, or their family doesn't have the means to get them anything," a parent at the block party told WPTV. "It's nice and important to see a lot of these coming out here and getting something even if it’s something small to put a smile on their face."

Plante said they had more than 1,000 toys donated by Mayo to give to children in need Saturday. She said families came in from Pahokee, Belle Glade and beyond.

Emmy Kenny with Hospitality Helping Hands said she has volunteered at the event every year since it started.

"The best is when they just gasp because they see something they really really want to take home with them. There’s nothing like it," Kenny said. "It’s sweet to see when kids kid a toy and they might not otherwise have gotten one, especially when it’s one they got to choose themselves."