JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Jackson City Councilman Kenneth Stokes made sure kids don’t go without a present on Christmas Day.

The councilman hosted his annual Christmas toy giveaway at City Hall on Sunday. He said City Hall staff, community members and local businesses were able to gather more than 500 toys.

Families and their children were able to pick out a few of their favorites like footballs, dolls, dominos and board games.

Stokes said the giveaway is his way of paying it forward.

“The children deserve to have a Merry Christmas. There’s no way we’re supposed to allow a child to not have a Merry Christmas because a family may not have money to afford those kinds of things. Somebody helped us once. What we’re trying to do is pass it on. Let’s keep helping these young people, because the same child here today might become the doctor who finds a cure to cancer. There’s so many sad things go on in the city and people deserve to have some joyful things. It’s Christmas. It’s Christmas and some people are saying, “bah humbug.” That’s not the mentality to have. The mentality to have is it’s Jesus’s birthday,” he said.

Stokes will host a second toy giveaway on Christmas Eve.