DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hundreds of presents arrived early for a Durham community, on the Sunday before Christmas. That's when a team of firefighters bearing gifts came to McDougald Terrace with toys for youngsters 13 and under, including infants.
Anneka Helper said their generosity helped her take care of her extended family with gifts
"For my nephew and for my niece, for my little brother and my own children. Because my mom passed, I get stuff for them. You know how that is," Helper said.
Firefighter Chaz Moore knows from personal experience. The organizer of the opportunity is a member of Victor Company, an organization of firefighters of color. Moore said he's a product of a similar community out of state.
"When I was a child and my brother, it's kinda how we got toys as well. So it feels good," he said. "Feels good, to be able to do that."
"It's not a lot of people out there that do this for the community. It's a low income based area, so it's nice when everybody can help out like this," Helper said. "I'm just super grateful."
Many people associate the name McDougald Terrace with maintenance issues that forced some tenants to move out until the Durham Housing Authority could fix the problem.
"It doesn't quite get the publicity, or seen in the light that the people here are all about," said Moore.
The firefighters brought more than 400 toys. Most came from the Toys for Tots program, along with others provided by the firefighters who smiled as they saw kids faces light up while accepting their presents.
Ashley Canady of the McDougald Terrace Residents Council said the grateful families really appreciate Sunday's assist.
"It's something our community needs. A lot of people have lost jobs, just different situations," Canady said.
She and the firefighters know that hard working people live in neighborhoods like McDougald Terrace, and don't always get the credit or the assistance they need to make sure their families are safe and happy at a time when many face financial challenges.
Now, thanks to the generous first responders, hundreds of children in that public housing community can have gifts under their Christmas trees this year.