Finding Holiday Joy From Toys for Tots in Spokane

Near the stacks of books, remote control cars, and larger than life stuffed animals at the Toys for Tots distribution warehouse, Krystal Hovater found her Christmas angel.

“I just want to give him a hug, he gives amazing hugs,” said Krystal.

Bill Bean is the man responsible for giving Krystal’s 11-year-old son a reason to believe in the magic of the holiday season. He’s also a marine vet, who is not afraid to cry.

“Bill literally brought the light back into my son’s eyes,” said Krystal.

As the warehouse supervisor, Bill hears a lot of stories about tough times. When Krystal walked into the warehouse last week, crying and shaking, he says his heart quickly transformed from steel to solid Jell-O.

“We just have a bond, it’s a Christmas bond,” said Bill.

It’s been a tough few months for Krystal. As a single mom with lupus, scleroderma, and anxiety, Krystal relies on her social security and disability to pay rent and put food on the table. In October, she received a letter indicating there was an error in her previous checks and she would be getting almost $75 less a month.

“I told my son, I’m only going to be able to get you one gift this year. It killed me, but we were going to be okay as long as we could decorate,” she added.

Thieves had other plans. Just a few days before Thanksgiving, Krystal realized someone broke into their apartment storage unit and took all of their holiday decorations, including a snow globe collection from her mom. An artificial tree was also destroyed. The thieves got away with more than just ornaments. Each box contained decades of family traditions, special moments, and handwritten cards from her grandma who passed away years ago.

“I just felt deflated. To steal from people who are already down and out is just wrong, they took away the one thing I could do for my son. They just killed his Christmas spirit” she added.

So, Krystal saved up her gas money to make the trip to Toys For Tots of Spokane. It was there, in the warehouse full of toys, Bill gave her one of his world-famous hugs and reassured her that everything would be okay.

“I said I would make Christmas happen,” said Bill.

And Bill is a man of his word. Within a few days, he had a pre-lit Christmas tree heading to her house. Thanks to Bill and Toys for Tots, Krystal’s son will also have a stocking full of hot wheels, a new chess set, basketball, and other toys under the tree this year.

“I’m hoping this will be a Christmas that he will always remember and he will know that Santa Claus came through,” said a teary-eyed Bill.

Someday, Krystal will tell her son all about their Christmas angel. But not this year. This year is all about cherishing the magic of Christmas through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy.

Learn more about Toys for Tots.

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