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About 350 children from infancy to age 16 left New Creation Fellowship Church on Sunday evening in Cheektowaga with broad smiles and a couple of new toys tucked under their arms, all because of the generosity of the church’s 25th annual Christmas toy distribution.

“Many families are not able to purchase toys for their children during these challenging economic times,” church administrator Stephen Grant said. “New Creation Fellowship Church has been assisting families in this area for 25 years as part of our continuing program to strengthen families.”

The Rev. Stephen J. Andzel, pastor, delivered a Christmas message and then stood with Santa Claus as they distributed at least two toys to each child whose family had signed up for the distribution.

The pastor said he expected to hand out hundreds of toys to children in the community. Grant said New Creation, a nondenominational family church, is a distribution center for the Western New York Holiday Partnership, a consortium of about 14 charitable agencies that collects gifts and some necessities for deprived children, especially those of single-parent families. He said a special program called Angel Tree Ministries gave toys to three families who have at least one parent who is incarcerated.

Sunday’s program began at about 7 p.m. in the church at 3325 Genesee St., between Union and Harlem roads. A party with refreshments, Christmas carols and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus followed.

Grant said the church was founded in downtown Buffalo and moved to the West Side before finding a permanent home at its present site. He said it serves about 550 families.

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