Volunteer gets satisfaction in making Christmas wishes come true

Keldy  Ortiz

Dec. 23, 2012 at 6:23 a.m.
Updated Dec. 24, 2012 at 6:24 a.m.

Fred McAfee recalled not receiving a gifr for Christmas. He's been volunteering for Toys for Tots to make sure kids get gifts.

Fred McAfee recalled not receiving a gifr for Christmas. He's been volunteering for Toys for Tots to make sure kids get gifts.   Keldy Ortiz for The Victoria Advocate

Recalling his own childhood, Fred McAfee called Christmas a day when no one should be left wanting.

When he was younger, McAfee said, he slept teetered on the edge of his bed he shared with two other siblings. He found the edge gave him a head start on opening presents over his five brothers and two sisters.

"I did that every year," McAfee, now 63, said. "I could peep in and look at the tree."

But one Christmas and many others to follow, the tree and the presents did not appear. McAfee, a Hallettsville native, said he wasn't disappointed because he was old enough to understand the circumstances; his dad did not have enough money to get gifts. But McAfee felt sorry for his brothers and sisters whose faces would not be able to light up for Christmas.

McAfee said he remembers that time vividly. It's that memory he takes with him when he volunteers for Toys for Tots, a program that gives presents to the less fortunate during the holidays. The organization gave out about 5,000 toys last week.

McAfee has been involved with Toys for Tots for six years.

"I feel good about it," McAfee said about volunteering. "It's not for the reward. It's the smile that's recognizable for me."

McAfee, a Navy veteran, teams up with members from his church and from the community to partake in donating gifts.

"His heart is helping kids out," said Joey Loya, who's been working with McAfee for the past four years. "You can see the excitement on his face when talking about Toys for Tots."

McAfee got involved with Toys for Tots after moving back from Houston. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but he said he wasn't affected too much from it. He knew volunteering for Toys for Tots would get him involved with helping others.

"Every year, I look forward to doing it," said McAfee. "It lights me up."

McAfee said that particularly during the holiday season, every kid should be happy.

"I try to make sure they get something," he said. "I have a chance to help out people, especially at this age."



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