SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Earlier this month, a holiday gifting program in the Electric City provided toys to more than 750 families in need. Because of the demand, a second gifting event was planned to grant the children’s wishes of families experiencing poverty.

No matter the age, toys bring out the inner child in everyone.

Many toys were brought from the Catherine McAuley Center to the University of Scranton on Wednesday, all part of the Gifts for Kids program.

“With rent, utility costs, it’s hard so what we’re doing is trying to create the magic of a child having a toy under the tree for Christmas morning,” said Joe Mahoney, CEO of Diocese of Scranton Catholic Social Services.

The program is a joint effort between the McAuley Center, Friends of the Poor, and the Diocese of Scranton Catholic Social Services. Earlier this month, more than 1,700 children received gifts to open for Christmas at its first event.

The huge demand they saw from families experiencing poverty led to the non-profit teaming up a second time at the Byron Center to serve the community free gifts.

“By joining forces, not only are we able to serve more families with more toys, we’re able to kind of reduce our overhead and put our energy, our funds right into the hands of the families in need too,” stated Krista Murray, Executive Director of the Catherine McAuley Center.

Meghan Loftus, the CEO, and president of Friends of the Poor says there’s much more to the season than presents, but seeing how their first event impacted families was a gift in itself.

“There was a woman who came in and she was very unsteady on her feet, you could tell that there were a lot of medical issues going on, and you could see the pain on her face. And when she was walking out a half hour later, she just seemed so much lighter, and so much less stressed and just you know that one burden being lifted for her, really makes all of the planning and all of the work that goes into this worth it,” explained Loftus.

The gift for kids event kicked off at 8:30 a.m. at the University of Scranton’s Center and will be available for families on a first-come, first-served basis.