The 21st James Brown Toy Giveaway kicked off Dec. 19 at 9 a.m. (WRDW-TV / Dec. 19, 2011)
News 12 at This Morning / Monday, Dec. 19, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Getting holiday toys this year was a struggle as jobs became harder to come by and money became tight.
Families in need are looking to another Augusta family for some help during the holidays.
The Brown Family Foundation continues the Godfather of Soul's legacy of giving five years after his death.
"People say it kind of gets easier, but really it gets hard sometimes, thinking about him and missing him," Deanna Brown Thomas explained. "My dad was a poor child and he didn't forget where he came from."
As they put smiles on more than 600 young faces, another young face will emcee the event -- News 12's very own Henry Stephens from Henry's Corner.
"Doesn't make me feel good because they don't have presents like some of the other kids do," Henry said.
To change that he wants to donate some of his own toys.
"Before every Christmas, I like to give the toys out of this toy room that I don't use or play with, I give them away," he explained.
Every donation families like Henry's make are crucial in a year where toys are hard to come by.
"We are teaming up with Toys for Tots and they have said the donations were down this year. We won't be able to get as much from them as we did last year," Thomas said.
The donations managed to pour in just in the nick of time for the Brown family Christmas tradition to continue.
"Anything can make a good present as long as it makes someone happy," Henry said.
This year's event will feature young musical groups who will provide more Christmas joy through music.
"These kids will be performing some classic Christmas carols and classic James Brown music," Thomas said. "This was his vision, his foundation to start."
Now his daughter will continue to build on that foundation to bring other families a Christmas they can remember. Last year we found out the James Brown estate will no longer help fund or endorse the giveaways. They're counting on the support of the community to continue these events.
If you are headed over to the James Brown Arena, make sure you bring a photo ID, birth certificates for your children receiving the toys (they must be between the ages of 1-12) and their Social Security numbers as well.
News 12 will have an update on the toy giveaway at 5 o'clock.
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