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Christmas comes early to Eglin families

Ashley Walker searches for the perfect toy for her 2-year-old daughter at the 8th annual toy distribution Nov. 30 at the Airman’s attic. Members of all services up to the grade of E-5, lined up to find the perfect gift for their children. More than 4,000 toys were donated for the event, helping more than 200 families in the Eglin community. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Ashley Walker searches for the perfect toy for her 2-year-old daughter at the 8th annual toy distribution Nov. 30 at the Airman’s attic. Members of all services up to the grade of E-5, lined up to find the perfect gift for their children. More than 4,000 toys were donated for the event, helping more than 200 families in the Eglin community. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Volunteers became Santa's elves in organizing more than 4,000 donated toys during the 8th annual toy distribution at the Airman's Attic Nov. 30. More than 200 families in the Eglin community were helped. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Volunteers became Santa's elves in organizing more than 4,000 donated toys during the 8th annual toy distribution at the Airman's Attic Nov. 30. More than 200 families in the Eglin community were helped. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Erika Pinola receives help picking out a toy for her three children from a volunteer at the 8th annual toy distribution Nov. 30 at the Airman’s Attic. Members of all services up to the grade of E-5, lined up to find the perfect gift for their children. More than 4,000 toys were donated for the event, helping more than 200 families in the Eglin community. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Erika Pinola receives help picking out a toy for her three children from a volunteer at the 8th annual toy distribution Nov. 30 at the Airman’s Attic. Members of all services up to the grade of E-5, lined up to find the perfect gift for their children. More than 4,000 toys were donated for the event, helping more than 200 families in the Eglin community. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Families began lining up as early as 4 a.m. outside the Airman’s Attic for the 8th annual toy distribution Nov. 30.  More than 4,000 toys were donated for the event, helping more than 200 families in the Eglin community. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Families began lining up as early as 4 a.m. outside the Airman’s Attic for the 8th annual toy distribution Nov. 30. More than 4,000 toys were donated for the event, helping more than 200 families in the Eglin community. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Volunteers became Santa's elves organizing more than 4,000 donated toys during the 8th annual toy distribution at the Airman's Attic Nov. 30. More than 200 families in the Eglin community were helped. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Volunteers became Santa's elves organizing more than 4,000 donated toys during the 8th annual toy distribution at the Airman's Attic Nov. 30. More than 200 families in the Eglin community were helped. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Service members were on hand to help families pick out gifts at the 8th annual toy distribution Nov. 30 at the Airman’s Attic. More than 4,000 toys were donated for the event, helping more than 200 families in the Eglin community.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Service members were on hand to help families pick out gifts at the 8th annual toy distribution Nov. 30 at the Airman’s Attic. More than 4,000 toys were donated for the event, helping more than 200 families in the Eglin community. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Airmen's Attic transformed into Santa's workshop Nov. 30, bringing Christmas early to hundreds of service members and their family.

Parents lined up as early as 4 a.m. in hopes of finding the perfect gift for their little girls and boys.

Volunteers became Santa's elves and helped to organize more than 4,000 toys for the 8th annual toy distribution. Members of all services up to the grade of E-5, rummaged through piles of toys, puzzles, games and baby dolls to find that one special gift.

More two dozen volunteers from across Team Eglin assisted the more than 200 families with toy selections for their children and helped keep traffic under control. To make sure the Christmas surprise wasn't spoiled, volunteers kept children entertained while parents searched for the right gifts.

"It's all about the families." said Bob White, an Airman Attic's volunteer veteran." Just knowing we can help bring joy to a family in need is why we do this."

The donations doubled from last year, so more than 500 children will have gifts to open on Christmas morning.

"As a parent, you want to give your child the best Christmas," said Ashley Walker, whose husband serves in the Marine Corps. "It's a magical time of year and an event like this is proof of that."

This event helps to alleviate some of the financial burden many parents are enduring this holiday season in the wake of a continued financial slump for the U.S.

"The event this year was an absolute success," said White. "As always, this would not have been possible without the volunteers who worked hard to make sure everyone left happier."

The Airman's Attic can be reached at 882-3616, Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.