BRIDGEPORT - Despite the hard economic times, residents across southwestern Connecticut stepped up to help needy families during the holiday season.

The Salvation Army in Bridgeport collected toys for 3,000 children in its annual toy drive. People donated everything from stuffed animals to games and soccer balls.

Many of the recipients say they are grateful to those who donated presents and can?t wait to see the smiles on the children?s faces.

The organization started collecting the toys the day after Thanksgiving.