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North Texas mom and son, who once received Santa's Helpers gifts, now volunteer and donate to the cause

“It's an amazing feeling to (have been) a participant and now to be a giver,” Tiffany Franklin said.

DESOTO, Texas — Tiffany Franklin has a unique perspective when it comes to Santa’s Helpers gifts.

“It's an amazing feeling to (have been) a participant and now to be a giver,” Tiffany said.

When Tiffany's son, Chandler, was around kindergarten-age, she started looking for after-school care.

“My relationship status had changed so of course, the money was tight,” Tiffany said.

That’s when she found the M.I.N.T. Foundation in DeSoto.

“We provide food and financial assistance to underserved families in our community,” M.I.N.T. Foundation executive director Felicia Frazier said.

The M.I.N.T. Foundation proved to be more than just a place for young Chandler to go after school. The Franklin family received support from the organization’s food pantry. 

And for three years, Chandler received donated toys through Christmas Candyland, the M.I.N.T. Foundation’s annual toy giveaway, and WFAA’s Santa’s Helpers.

“It was just amazing to have something under the tree for him,” Tiffany said.

This year, both the nonprofit’s toy drive and WFAA’s Santa’s Helpers event are drive-thrus due to the pandemic.

Drop off new, unwrapped toys at WFAA’s Victory Park Studios from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Thursday at 3030 Olive Street in Dallas. 

You can also make a financial donation to WFAA's Santa’s Helpers here.

Meanwhile, the M.I.N.T. Foundation’s Christmas Candyland event is Saturday. The drive-thru event goes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at DeSoto High School. Registration to receive gifts is already closed.

The Franklins still participate in the M.I.N.T. Foundation’s annual holiday event, but it’s different now.

Thanks to Tiffany's efforts, her employer donates toys and food to the nonprofit. And Chandler volunteers his time.

“It touched me a little bit to go back and think about it, and be like, I'm glad I had this (when I was younger),” Chandler said.

The M.I.N.T. Foundation has over 500 kids signed up to receive toys on Saturday – the most they’ve ever had.

“We have to, at some point, turn people away if we don't get the donations that we need,” Frazier said.

You can drop off toys at their DeSoto facility located at 1604 Falcon Drive, DeSoto, TX, 75115.

You can also purchase toys ahead of Saturday's event through the nonprofit’s Amazon Wish List. 

To make a financial donation to the M.I.N.T. Foundation’s Christmas Candyland event, click here.