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EAST CHICAGO, Indiana (CBS) – For families who are grieving or who might have a hard time putting food on the table, it can be difficult to find gifts under the tree for Christmas.

As CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported, a woman from East Chicago, Indiana is trying to save Christmas for families in need.

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“You see the magic of Christmas,” said Tamye Longoria, president of the nonprofit Paying It Forward.

Longoria doesn’t just mean shopping for toys – she seeks to work wonders.

“I’m actually on dialysis so after I got off dialysis I picked up (the kids) and brought them here,” Adolph Lomeli said.

“I am a mother of four children. We just moved from Kentucky, ”said Sarah Morris, mother of 2-year-old Iylah. “It’s hard to try to manage life and do things for them. “

Giving gifts is nothing new for the association. But their space is brand new – having debuted in June – and more space means more to offer.

“If they want to take a photo with Santa, it’s free,” Longoria said. “If they want to choose a toy, it’s free.

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They provide time with Santa and 500 gifts to families in East Chicago – and beyond; for those who need a little more cheerfulness.

“The holidays are not good for me. I lost a son, ”said Maricela Barocio, grandmother of 3-year-old Lydia. “You see all the struggling families and then you see how happy the kids are to have a toy. Whether used or new, it puts a smile on their face.

After the holidays, the space will revert to being a donation supply store where people can shop for clothes and goods – because for Longoria, the donation season lasts all year round.

“I still believe in Santa Claus, because Santa Claus is not a person,” Longoria said. “Santa Claus is the Christmas spirit that you bring to families in need.”

Longoria launched the association 9 years ago. They’ve been giving out “angel tree” toy giveaways from the start, but this is their first year doing “shop with Santa”.

You can visit the store until December 21 at 819 W. Chicago Ave. in East Chicago, Indiana.

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Teachers and social workers can call to schedule the arrival of children for private purchases
For more information, call (219) 318-3122 or visit www.payingitforwardnwi.com, where you can also donate.


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