(MOBILE, Ala.) Most kids look forward to Christmas all year long, but for abused children the holidays can be one of the most difficult times of the year.
This year, Saint Luke's Episcopal School teamed up with the Child Advocacy Center to make the holidays a little easier.
During a recent basketball game against Saraland High School, the kids put a spin on the entry fee.
"They talked to the coach and they got their people to bring toys and our people brought toys," says freshman Christian Kennedy-Milligan, "and we brought them here today."
The turnout was overwhelming. People brought toys big and small, even donated cash for gift cards. Then, Kennedy-Milligan and several other students deposited them directly under the CAC's Christmas tree.
"I like the football," he says with a laugh, "and that big teddy bear."
They're simple gifts, but a big bright spot in the lives of the children that come to the center. Many have serious symptoms, like those associated with post traumatic stress disorder.
"Some of our children have been diagnosed with that, and they have a hard time feeling really happy around the holidays," says Clinical Supervisor Nikki Formwalt. "They may miss their parent or the person that hurt them."
Formwalt says the gift of a toy brings the kids one step closer to her biggest holiday wish for them.
"Just a really Merry Christmas," she says, when asked of what she hopes for the children, "where they can just for a few days forget about the problems and be typical children."