Martha's Kitchen gives away thousands of gifts to Bay Area families in need

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The need for meals given out by San Jose food pantry Martha's Kitchen has increased 100% this year due to the pandemic.

However, while they have met that need, the soup kitchen wanted to do more.

This holiday season, they are lending a helping hand to Santa Claus.

"This year we recognized, that with COVID, there's a lot of families that are struggling more so than normal and a lot of other organizations have reduced or eliminated their toy giveaway programs," Martha's Kitchen Executive Director Bill Lee said. "So, we decided that it was important that somebody stepped up and filled the void, so we decided to do that."

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Volunteers with Martha's Kitchen and Order of Malta wrapped thousands of toys and handed out the presents for every age group.

After just two days, 5,000 gifts were given away with another 3,000 more on Monday.

Each wrapped with special care to make sure children in the Bay Area had a gift on Christmas morning.

"A lot of these less fortunate kids will literally get not a single present for Christmas," Lee said. "The wrapping was really an important element for us because we want the children to have a little slice of a normal Christmas. The ability to not only just get a toy, but to be able to take something home, not know what it is and wait until Christmas day to open it."

"I love it, especially now with my hours being cut at work," Lupe Chavez said. "Thank you much for everything they are doing."

"Right now with everything going on, it's very helpful and supportive for our family," Laura Olmedo said. "We really appreciate this. Just to get something from them is very important for us."

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"There's a lot of love happening here because you know you've brought a little bit of happiness and a little bit of normalcy to a family that has otherwise had a really rotten year due to COVID," Lee said.

Just because the toy drive ended, doesn't mean that you still can't help Martha's Kitchen. They're always looking for donations and volunteers in order to help Build a Better Bay Area.

For more information on how to give back, visit the Martha's Kitchen website here.
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