Local Fiat Chrysler machining facility employees give Christmas to homeless families

Local Fiat Chrysler machining facility employees give Christmas to homeless families

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Workers at the Fiat Chrysler Machining Plant in Perrysburg are used to delivering vehicles. But Friday, they got to deliver toys to children in need.

The heartwarming delivery happened at the Family House shelter. Both Santa and Mrs. Claus showed up, as did a magician.

In Toledo, the average age of a homeless child is only four-years-old. With children that are so young, Mr. and Mrs. Claus knew the importance of making some of the wishes of these young kids come true.

But it was the generosity of those at Fiat Chrysler who truly brought the Christmas spirit to the children in what has become an annual tradition for the Family House.

"We are the second largest homeless shelter for families in the state of Ohio. So we have 36 families that stay with us at any given time. That's 115 people and 65 kids," Renee Palacios, Executive Director at Family House said. "And so our kids know what Christmas is all about and they know Santa is coming and those kinds of things and so Chrysler makes sure that our kids are included on the Christmas spirit and holiday."

One of the important lessons at the family house is making sure kids know they are loved each holiday season, and they are not forgotten.

"Some of our homeless children fear Santa won't know where to find them because they are homeless. In our culture if Santa doesn't come, it's because you've been a bad little boy or girl," said Palacios. "So sometimes our kids just assume they've been bad when Santa doesn't come. We want to make sure that these kids don't feel that this Christmas season."

Toledo Machining employees, represented by UAW Local 1435, "adopt" every child who is living at Family House and brings them multiple wrapped Christmas presents.

""Without Chrysler we just couldn't do Christmas for the kids of Family House," Palacios said.

The presents are not simply random gifts. Family House gives the kids Toys 'R Us and other ads to cut out pictures make lists of what they want.

The packages are then hidden so the children have something to open on Christmas morning.

Employees say they often throw something in for mom and dad too.

"The very first time I ever got a chance to participate in this, from that moment forward, it's more and more. I want to have a bigger and bigger share in it because to watch the kids come in, to watch their faces light up," UAW 1435 president Tim Walbolt said. "You know, I would say we have approximately 350 presents in here so we pretty much fill the semi."

Family House also gets community volunteers who come in on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to help make the holiday special for their residents.

For those who can donate, they are accepting monetary donations for the holidays.

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