Alva church hit by Irma gives away more than 500 toys for Christmas

A string of bad luck is not stopping a church from helping their community.

Every year, the congregation at Alva United Methodist Church gives away hundreds of toys to parents who want their children to have a merry Christmas, but are struggling to make ends meet.

“I think Hurricane Irma probably played a part in this. These people have had many problems, so here we are to help,” church member Lynn Hawkins said.

Alva United Methodist Church’s exterior cross, damaged by Hurricane Irma, was across the street at Rev. Ralph Cotten’s home for repair when it was stolen.

MORE: Steeple cross stolen from Alva United Methodist church

The church itself is still working on repairs after the storm but organizers for the event say it’s still the season of giving.

“This is Christmas. This is love. This is God’s blessings to us,” Hawkins said. “This is what it’s all about, it really is.”

Last year, 164 people signed up to receive toys, according to Hawkins. This year 342 people signed up.

“It’s really cool seeing the people you know come in and get the toys. It’s really fun to see the joy on their faces,” student helper Griffin Hawkins said.

In total, the church gave away more than 500 toys to families in need.