OGDEN -- Eight-year-old Hannah Cox's face lit up when she opened her early Christmas present and found a Moxie Girlz doll.
"Thank you very much," she said, grinning ear to ear, to the Ogden firefighter who gave it to her. It was just what she wanted for Christmas.
"You're welcome," said Justin Atkinson, one of five firefighters who delivered presents to the Your Community Connection building on 23rd Street and Adams Avenue for more than 30 children Wednesday evening.
It was his wife Christy Atkinson's idea. YCC normally does not fundraise for its Christmas presents or have a lot of money to spend on the children, the YCC intern said. But she decided to change that this year. YCC collected $1,000 in about three months from the Ogden firefighters, the Ogden Firefighters Association and local retailers.
The generosity was most appreciated. Most of the children at YCC are from lower-income families in Ogden.
Christina Martin does not have much to give her children this Christmas. On top of that, this is the first Christmas without their grandmother, to whom they were very attached, she said.
"So this is a big relief," she said.
Nor has it been an easy year for Tim Pate, who is unemployed.
"I'm on a fixed income, and part of that goes to my ex. Plus, with the weather you have to run the furnace more," he said. "It's been rough."
But it brought a smile to his face to see his four sons hop excitedly around YCC with their new toys, including an Iron Man action figure and Optimus Prime. It was very nice of the firefighters to go out of their way and buy them all these presents, said his 12-year-old son Timothy Pate.
YCC also gave out blankets so the children can stay warm this Christmas. They make a habit of watching out for the children, Tim Pate said. YCC supplied them with winter clothes this year as well.
"You look around, and you see each kid has a jacket," he said. "They've really helped out a lot of people in the neighborhood. This was very nice of them."
YCC hosts programs for local children each Monday and Wednesday so they stay occupied, entertained and out of trouble.
It also hands out a gallon of milk to families who need it every Monday morning, said Director Julee Smith. Families will line up outside the building at 7:30 a.m., even though the milk is not available for another hour and a half.
"That's the kind of need you see here," she said.
But even if times are tough, it was hard to read that on the faces of the children at YCC on Wednesday night. They have warm coats, new blankets, a brand new toy and Christmas cheer.
"Thank you," Hannah Cox said.