Church prays for Christmas miracle after toy donation mix-up


TAYLORS, S.C. (WSPA) – Members of an Upstate church were praying for a Christmas miracle after learning a toy delivery for hundreds of kids wasn’t ever coming.

Belinda Worley, a Minister at Living Branch Ministries, says they planned to make Christmas morning special for 300 kids whose families regularly attend the church’s weekly soup kitchen.

Worley tells 7News in the past they’ve partnered with Toys For Tots to make it happen, but this year a mix-up almost ruined Christmas.

7News walked into the church on Thursday to table after table stacked with toys for kids of every age.

Worley says 24 hours ago the room was empty because church volunteers had cleared the space for a pile of donated toys they were expecting.

“Well we put in for Toys for Tots and we’ve done this for the last two years,” Worley told 7News. “Two years ago they did supply, but this year for some reason they didn’t.”

Worley showed 7News an application the church had submitted to Toys For Tots in October. The request status is still pending.

Worley says when it was time to pick up the toys she learned of a mix-up.

“They didn’t have them for us. They said that they were not giving to organizations this year,” she said.

Instead of leaving with toys, church volunteers left empty-handed.

“We began to pray,” Worley said.

The volunteers decided to turn to the community for a miracle.

“These souls are precious to me and I want to give to them,” said Worley.

Not even a day later the community delivered.

“That’s everything to all of us here in this church and that’s in this program,” said Dianne Bell, Living Branch Ministries Administrative Secretary.

Hundreds of toys were dropped off at the Taylors church.

Immediately volunteers got to work sorting the donations.

All 300 kids on the gift list will now have a toy to unwrap on Christmas morning. Volunteers say it’s a small gesture that can make a world of a difference in these kids’ lives.

“You don’t know what touches a child’s heart and keeps them from going in the wrong direction,” Lyn Williams, a Living Branch Ministries volunteer, told 7News.

7News reached out to Toys for Tots and has not heard back.

Living Branch Ministries is hoping to collect enough toys to give each child between 3 and 5.

On Friday they are hosting a toy drive from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the church located at 4007 Locust Hill Road in Taylors.

The church is accepting toy donations for newborns all the way up to 12-years-old. Right now, they are low on toys for girls and boys 11 and up.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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