RUNNELS COUNTY - The generous gifts from the Toys for Kids program put smiles on the faces of many Runnels County children this Christmas. The program has been sponsored by the Runnels County Sheriff's Office for more than 35 years.

RUNNELS COUNTY - The generous gifts from the Toys for Kids program put smiles on the faces of many Runnels County children this Christmas. The program has been sponsored by the Runnels County Sheriff’s Office for more than 35 years.

The toys were distributed to the parents, grandparents and loved ones on Wednesday, Dec. 20.

“The Toys for Kids program is still alive and well,” said Runnels County Chief Deputy Steve Gray, who has been participating in the effort since 2008. “We are just happy we can make a child’s Christmas happy - it’s all for the children.”

Stephanie Garza of Ballinger was one of about 75 families who signed up for the program, which is for children throughout Runnels County.

Garza was picking up goodies for her six children who range in age from 2-9 years old.

“It is very important to us,” Garza said as Deputy Tito Mata handed her a bag full of toys.

This is the third year Dedra Prendez has signed up to make sure her children who are 14 and 8 years old, receive something for Christmas.

“Because of illness in my family I wasn’t able to buy the children a thing,” she said.

Juanita Cruz, of Winters, stopped by to pick up toys for her 11-year-old twin boys.

“This has really helped us,” Cruz said. “My hours have been cut back so this is very helpful.”

In all about 230 children received gifts from the program, said Marie Hoffman, of the RCSO who was the coordinator this year.

Volunteers from Ballinger High School bagged the gifts on Tuesday afternoon. Community volunteers helped pass out the toys on Wednesday.

“They have all done a great job,” Hoffman said.