Families get their stockings stuffed a little bit early

Friday at the Oncenter in downtown Syracuse, more than 2,500 people came down to get their share of an early Christmas. People were lining up as early as 8:00 a.m., where they had to wait for their turn to get into the cavernous depths where the presents were waiting for them.

One mother, Brandy Tittlebom, brought her two nieces and her daughter with her to the Oncenter.

"We'll be pick up a few extra gifts," Tittleborn said. "Every little bit helps."

There are a wide range of presents to go around, with everything from a football to a My Little Pony set, and everything else in between.

One first year volunteer Carol Gazitano explained what gifts were available for children, "Every child who is under twelve gets one toy. Children who are 13 to 16 get a movie ticket and at the very end they get a Hess truck as well. Then we go all the way around and get a book for each child no matter what age."

There were plenty of books to go around. Zoie Jones, a little 6 year old girl, couldn't remember which book Santa dropped early into her stocking this season, but after some coaching from her aunt, we were able to get an answer: "The Cat in the Hat."

Catholic Charities hosts this annual event, coordinating with the Salvation Army, as well as several other donors who help out, most notably with the food. Every family from Onondaga County who walked through the doors Friday received a dinner that they may have been without had it not been for this event. Tops, Price Chopper and Wegmans all pitched in, donating food to fill boxes with everything from turkey to granola bars.

"It's basically a Christmas dinner," Cherice Baldwin, a member of the Air Force, said.