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Southwest Florida Military Museum gives away free toys for Christmas

Posted: 12:46 AM, Dec 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-24 07:40:24-05
Holiday toy drive in Cape Coral

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — The Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library gave away free toys for Christmas on Sunday.

“It’s really cool that they’re able to come out and see Santa and they get to pick out a toy,” said Beth Milne, who brought her boys to the give away.

The kids had so many things to choose from. From toy cars to one of the most popular: Play-dough. But parents said it goes beyond presents. They said the museum does so much more to help the community throughout the year.

Joe Aviles said he’s taken advantage of the museum’s meals for thanksgiving and financial services they provide veterans over the years. And he said the toy give away takes the pressure off a bit for him this time of year since he’s the sole provider at home.

“This place has helped us out quite a few times, so that’s why I come here,” said Aviles. “In my family, I’ve got 5. I’m the only one that’s working right now. So it’s a big burden lifted off of me.”

Relief for one family. a surprise for another. Milne and Nicholas Sileo stopped by for Santa but were happy their boys got to pick out a free present, too.

“I wasn’t expecting that actually,” said Sileo referring to the free gifts

“I got an auto max thing. And it can drive by itself,” said Sileo’s son.

But the choice wasn’t so easy for little Jacob.

His mom Susan Gutowski brings him and his siblings to the give away every year.

“It’s wonderful. It’s a great service to the community,” said Gutowski.

Jacob finally decided on a fairy and his siblings got a dart board, stuffed animal and harry potter game. His dad was happy that they were all pleased with their choices.

“To see the joy on their face when they make that decision, and find something that speaks to them. It’s really rewarding,” he said.