Operation Merry Christmas

By Brandi Bailey

December 13, 2012 Updated Dec 13, 2012 at 7:38 PM EDT

Sidney, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Operation Merry Christmas started in 1940 in Sidney, NY at a local hospital as a way to give Christmas gifts to the children of families in need.

"I love doing it. She loves doing it. She's been doing it since she was 12 years old," said organizer Virginia Ireland.

Dorene and Virginia Ireland took over Operation Merry Christmas more than 20 years ago as a way to give back to the community.

Since then, the program has grown along with the piles of toys.

"When you start out with all of these presents and you know that there all going to people who really need them and wouldn't have them otherwise. It's a good feeling," said Ireland.

Families provide lists for the volunteers, focusing on the children's interests.

"We just follow that right down. I can follow that right through so I know everybody gets about the same thing," said Ireland.

It's all done to give families in need a Christmas without the worry of wondering how they will afford all the gifts.

"Don't worry about Christmas. You worry about yourself and we'll worry about Christmas this year," said Ireland.

That's exactly what the Irelands and a slew of volunteers are working towards.

The gift pick up will take place this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sidney Civic Center.

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