"That part is a bonus, because they were only expecting one toy," volunteer Darius Monroe said.
Atahjionna Bishop, 9, who came to the toy drive with her mother, two sisters and several cousins, got a new pink and white bike. "It doesn't have training wheels," she said.
Her older sister picked out a bracelet-making kit. "It feels good, because half the time you want (a toy), you can't get it," said Alarrionna Atwood, 11.
Their mother, Tarlyn Waters, said the toy drive was especially appreciated this year, because she and her family had just endured the expense of moving to a new home. "It was a struggle to get them everything they wanted," Waters said. "So it really helped."
In the toy room, Zion McKinnie, 9, started to cry when a gift she had her eye on was chosen by another girl. Julia Hudson asked her what she would want if she could have anything for Christmas.
Zion said she wanted a tablet. Julia Hudson, without taking a moment to think about it, had someone grab her tablet and then gave it to the little girl.
"I'm going to have her sign the back," Zion said excitedly. Her mother, Onjel McKinnie, Zion's mom, made it clear she would have to share with her sister. Zion was fine with that.
Organizers said the toy drive had 50,000 toys to give away this year, the most ever. WGN-TV, which like the Chicago Tribune, is owned by the Tribune Co., collected more than 30,000 toys for the giveaway.