Christmas comes early for 800 Milwaukee families

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MILWAUKEE -- While many scrambled Saturday to finish their Christmas shopping, gifts were delivered at the doorsteps of about 800 families on Milwaukee's south side.

The group, "Urban Heart," collected donations and for the second straight year, dropped off presents at the home families along Washington Street. Compared to last year, the group saw a tremendous increase in donations.

"Last year we ended up having about 400 gifts, this year it's about 1,800," said director Richard Schwoegler, "So it's a lot more, it's a tremendous amount."

Among the 800 or so families reached by Urban Heart volunteers is the Jacksons. Amanda Jackson, a single mother of five, already has a solid relationship with the volunteers.

"They've helped us with food, clothes," she said, "They also helped me with a stove, furniture, beds."

Jackson says it's still a struggle to pay the bills but adds at the very least, her kids are covered for Christmas.

"I'm thankful they can open up something, better than nothing on Christmas so I'm thankful for everything that anybody's done for me and my kids," she said.

Schwoegler says he's happy with the Christmas program's growth. But he now wants to expand the faith-based program to other parts of the city.

"Think of about 50 Urban Hearts throughout the city of Milwaukee helping each of those different areas," he said, "All we need is more people, that's what we need."