Struggling Christmas Angel program gets boost from local company

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PHOENIX -- Employees of Chandler-based Avnet spent Friday morning spending more than $43,000 on toys for hundreds of children they do not know and will never meet.

As it has in years past, Avnet came through for the Christmas Angel program.

Thirty employees and their families scoured the aisles at the Walmart at Raintree and Loop 101, working hard to made sure hundreds of Arizona children in need will have a toy to open on Christmas morning.

Last year, Avnet employees collected $39,000 to buy toys for the program. This year, they collected even more money, and it couldn't come at a better time.

The Salvation Army's Christmas Angel program, which is one of the biggest holiday toy drives in the country, has been struggling this year. Contributions are down and need is higher than ever.

The Salvation Army says it hopes to serve 48,000 children in the Phoenix metro area this year.

Based on the needs of the Salvation Army, the Avnet team focused on toys for kids in two specific age groups -- 3 to 5 and 9 to 12.

Mike Kinney, vice president of technical operations for Avnet, estimates that Friday's huge shopping spree alone will benefit some 1,500 children.

The employees and their families love shopping for the kids.

"It's awesome," Avnet employee Clay Cooper said. "It just gets better and better."

This is the third year Avnet and its employees have been part of the Christmas Angel program. 

A Fortune 500 Company headquartered in Chandler, Avnet is one of the largest distributors of electronic components, computer products and embedded technology in the world.