KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- For the 101st year, the News Sentinel Empty Stocking Fund provided food and toys to disadvantaged East Tennesseans.
More than 1,000 volunteers gathered to assemble 3,600 holiday food baskets, toys, and books for their neighbors in need.
Volunteers from churches, schools, scout troops, companies and many other individuals worked on the days leading up to Christmas to fill the baskets with more than a week's worth of groceries, which families will use to prepare traditional meals for the holidays.
Terrance Spencer yelled with excitement, "I got food and toys!" His mom is disabled and had to walk three miles to get the food and toys for her son. Without the Empty Stocking Fund, they wouldn't have a Christmas.
They were just one family directly impacted by Saturday's hand out.
University of Tennessee football player Greg Grieco said, "Just looking at the food we're giving these people, this will feed them for one or two meals. I take it for granted that I eat feast everyday. I have to eat tons of calories to maintain my body weight. So today's experience has really been humbling."
Variety of Eastern Tennessee was the main sponsor of the toy program, awarding a $30,000 grant toward the purchase of toys for young recipients.