Even though VictoryLand casino is closed, Santa Claus still stopped by.
The shuttered gaming facility opened its doors to continue a 25 year tradition of giving toys to needy children.
This year some of the families receiving toys were former employees, folks who would normally be handing out toys.
Christmas came a little early for some Macon County families and just in the nick of time. Victoryland normally serves around 1,000 children at the holiday.
This year they gave toys to 150 kids.
Five of former employee Mary Wood’s grandchildren received games, dolls and a bike.
Mary Woods, Former VictoryLand Employee, says “It helped tremendously, I haven’t been employed, neither has my daughter who also worked here since VictoryLand closed.”
Former employee Charles Cooper's three grandchildren each got a toy.
“This is a treat for them you know cause children looking forward to somebody giving them something for Christmas and this helps the parents out,” said Cooper.
His grandson, Jimauris Davis, is an Alabama fan. He got a crimson tide hoop set.
“Get three points on it, a lot of shots,” said Davis.
The majority of VictoryLand has been closed since August 2010.
Casino Owner Milton McGregor dug into his own pockets to provide gifts for the kids.
Lewis Benefield, Chief Operating Officer for VictoryLand, says “Mr. McGregor has been so grateful and out of his own money and the stockholders pockets have donated the money to give these toys, to buy these toys for these kids, if it wasn’t for Mr. McGregor we wouldn’t be here today.”
Benefield says the best Christmas present for Macon County folks would be to have VictoryLand up and running again.
“Mr. McGregor has a lot of adversity and he works daily with the officials in trying to get us back open full speed,” said Benefield.
Woods would love to have her VictoryLand job back. For now, the grandmother of seventeen is very grateful for the toys. “It’s always exciting to be able to receive something when you can’t afford to give something yourself,” said Woods.
VictoryLand officials say they hope to open soon, but don’t when that will be.