Operation Homefront helps military families this Christmas - FOX 35 News Orlando

Operation Homefront helps military families this Christmas

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Young and old shared smiles together as Christmas came early for some military families and their children.

Operation Homefront is an organization that provides support to military families. They teamed up with staff and residents of the four Belmont senior living centers around Chicago to buy gifts for military children. Many of them said thanks without ever saying a word.

Isabel Alvarez, 3, was beaming with joy after picking out her stroller and stuffed animal gifts, which she proceeded to show off to all the Belmont Village residents.

Air Force veteran Bruce Clark smiled and shared the moment.

"I was thinking how good she feels and how great it is that we were able to give her something that she really liked and didn't have," Clark said.

Dozens of children with fathers in the Navy, Marines or Army got to choose several presents from a pile of 400 donated gifts.

It was hard to choose for some, but these kids weren't hard to please.

"Sometimes there a lot of things during Christmas that you want to get, that you don't actually know what they want, this gives them a little opportunity to do some freehand dig to get some of those great things that they want, so it's great," says William Simmons, a father and US Navy veteran

82-year-old Helen Stieg, a Navy veteran and Belmont resident helped buy some of the gifts. She loved watching the kid's faces.

"They are so precious, they're priceless, and love is what they need," Stieg said.

Steve McMichaels, one of the '85 Super Bowl Bears was on hand to spread the cheer. On this day, there was a lot being shared.

"Just really really grateful, really really thankful for the support that we have felt from the community," says Operation Homefront volunteer Linda Alvarez.

Any of the presents that were not claimed will be donated to the U.S. Marines in Chicago, who have their own toys for tots drive every year.

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