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Toys will be passed out today and Thursday at First Baptist Church Cleburne during Operation Blessing’s annual giveaway event.

For 34 years Operation Blessing, a faith-based volunteer organization, has been giving back to those less fortunate in Johnson County. The 15th annual toy giveaway, benefiting 700-1,000 children, aims to give those children a Christmas that they might not have been able to have. 

Operation Blessing will hold its annual toy giveaway from 8 a.m. to noon today and Thursday at First Baptist Church, 414 N. Main St. in Cleburne. 

The concept of a toy giveaway seems simple enough, but as seven-year toy drive veteran Debora Wilson puts it, “You have to see the faces of all the families in need that are able to give their children a present on Christmas morning, in order to understand the impact toys can have. It helps people.” 

Each of the families are given their choice of one large toy or bike (if available), two smaller toys and some stocking-stuffers. The drive is geared towards children from babies and toddlers to 12- and 13-year-olds. 

The toys, which have already been designated for those who applied beforehand, have been collected from community donations and Toys for Tots. 

Last minute donations are accepted. Those who were not able to apply for help this year can still get help from other organizations, said Dianne Packwood, a volunteer helping organize the drive.

Operation Blessing has been helping the community since it was founded in the back of a Christian bookstore 34 years ago by Gloria Jones of Cleburne. 

“We have so many people that help us, it is an honor to work with Toys for Tots, they really light the fire for us every year,”  Jones said. “It has grown to be bigger than I ever imagined, the help of the First Baptist Church really makes it happen.”

For the third year in a row, the entire gymnasium of First Baptist Church Cleburne, has been fitted for the project.

Operation Blessing hosts 15th annual toy giveaway

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