Another successful Christmas was pulled off by the volunteers at the McCulloch County Helping Hands Center’the non-profit organization that started the “Toys for Tots” program in McCulloch County 15 short years ago. With each passing Christmas holiday, the program proves more and more to be a bearer of smiles and laughter. “There were a lot of happy faces this year,” said Helping Hands director Dorothy Lafuente. “The program was very successful and brought a lot of joy to everyone who participated in the event.” One-hundred and five applications were submitted to Helping Hands, and of that total, 300 children received gift donations this Christmas. The gifts ranged from Tonka trucks and Barbi dolls to 10-speed bicycles. Helping Hands volunteers began distributing the gifts on Wednesday, Dec. 20 and continued through Friday, Dec. 22. With an estimated 275 children receiving gifts last year through the program, this year’s 300 is a small boost in participation. Helping Hands started soliciting Continued from page one applications in early November and accepted them through the second week in December. “Everyone was very supportive of the program this year,” said Mrs. Lafuente. “We appreciate all the businesses and donors who participated this year with the Christmas angels.” “This program is very rewarding. Everyone gives with their heart and that’s what the Christmas season is all about. “The hunters that frequent the area are always looking to help out, especially when it benefits a child,” added Mrs. Lafuente. “Each year after the toys are distributed, we try to evaluate the program and see what kind of improvements if any are needed to make the next year’s event a success as well.” The Gloria Family also assisted the Toys for Tots program with their El Flamingo Thanksgiving Day feast. A total of $3,027 was raised through donations generated from the dinner.