Families line up early to pick up Toys For Tots gift bags

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

Channel 9's Mark Joyella spent the day with a few Marines as families came to pick up gifts from this year's Toys For Tots campaign.

When the Marines got to the warehouse Friday morning, there was already a line of families running up the middle of the parking lot ready to wait 90 minutes or more to get inside and get gifts for their children.

One family at a time, the Marines handed over bags of toys that were carefully collected over the last few months and slowly packed into an Orlando warehouse.

This first day of distribution was scheduled to start at 8 a.m., but families were lined up long before the doors opened.

"We had folks out here waiting at 6:30 a.m.," said Marine Sgt. Chris Hoagland.

Volunteers in the warehouse get lists of kids by gender and age. They then collect gifts for them, bag the gifts up and leave them to be handed out.

"I try to think what I would want, and I have younger sisters, and I think what they would like," said volunteer Cassandra Patrick.

For families in need, each of the carefully assembled bags means the difference between struggling to have a holiday at all and having good gifts for children.

"It was very tiring waiting, but it's worth the wait for them to get their gifts," said mother Irma Santana.

The Marines said at the busiest times on Friday they were handing out bags of toys to 300 families an hour.

About 25,000 families in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties signed up to receive toys this year.