The wait staff, managers and cooks at a Scottsdale Denny's canceled their own Christmas party, and instead threw a party for four struggling families.
"We normally do a white elephant for $20 each, but we don't need a gift from each other," manager Elizabeth Cervantes said. "We decided to get presents for other people."
They agreed to help one family, but the number quickly grew to four.
Cervantes found the families on Facebook.
One is struggling financially, two are victims of crimes, and the fourth is dealing with medical issues.
Together with some of the restaurant's regular customers and others, the Denny's staff arranged an early Christmas for the families Wednesday night at the restaurant near 7000 E. Mayo Blvd.
Each family was treated to dinner, a Christmas tree, presents and more. Each child received a new bike.
One mother wiped tears away, telling the Denny's staff that her family was unable to celebrate Thanksgiving. She said without their generosity, they would not have been able to have a Christmas either.
"It touches my heart to know we helped these people," Cervantes said.
Single mother Tisha Morgan, of New River, came with her kids, including her 1-year-old, James. He uses a feeding tube and requires care 24 hours a day.
"I'm so thankful and grateful for this. I don't know what we would've done without their help," she said.
The Denny's staff members looked on, proud of their contributions.
"It's so neat to see something we just thought about doing two weeks ago become so beautiful," said Shere Baker, an overnight waitress.
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