For one family, Toys of Hope provides Christmas cheer

As printed in Newsday

True to Toys of Hope's mantra that "we're more than toys," the Gregory family of Brentwood has received hats, scarves and even laundry detergent from the Huntington Station-based charity.

But Friday was all about toys, as Judy and Kenny Gregory watched their pint-size grandson, Zion, busily examine the offerings inside the charity's warehouse.

He got down to business, announcing his preference for wrestling-related toys.

Two years ago, the family was in trouble. Kenny Gregory, 53, was unemployed, and one of the couple's daughters moved back into the house with her four children, including Zion.

"Money was not coming in," he said.

Toys of Hope's founder Melissa Doktofsky stepped in and gave the family enough donations for each grandchild to get five toys for the holidays.

"She was a great help for the kids," said Judy Gregory, who is 54. "She made it possible to have a Christmas."

Now the family is heading back to steadier ground. Kenny Gregory is working as a security guard, and Judy Gregory enrolled in cooking school.

Still, the demands of holiday shopping for four grandchildren exceeded their available funds. Once again, Doktofsky stepped in.

"I'm very, very, very happy," Judy Gregory said.