Man collects donations to bring Christmas to kids in Gatlinburg

Posted at 8:57 PM, Dec 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-07 21:36:10-05

The holiday season is right around the corner and many parents in Gatlinburg do not have the extra funds to buy their kids Christmas presents, after the recent devastating fire. One Parma man learned of the need and is doing everything in his power to make sure every child affected, has a very Merry Christmas.

"I have children and grandchildren. I would not want them waking up without a present for Christmas, and that's it that's where this all came from," said barber and father of two, Mario Innocenzi.

Ask any parent out there and they will tell you, their child's happiness is their bliss. Innocenzi knows all about that.

"My eyes are not usually as puffy and dark. I've been crying for four days - every time I get a donation, I'm getting emotional now just thinking about it," said Innocenzi.

Innocenzi's story dates back about a week ago. He and his family were driving home after a Thanksgiving vacation in Florida.

"We got up over a mountain, and I saw a big red glow and I was like, 'Oh my God, what's going on?'" said Innocenzi.

He soon learned about the fire, just a few miles up the road.

"There was so much fire and so much devastation, I never seen anything like that in my life," said Innocenzi.

He knew he had to do something and began asking folks to donate on social media. Folks are answering the call.

Innocenzi tells News 5, he is collecting supplies until 4 o'clock, Saturday. After that point, he plans to drive the truck, weather permitting, to a church drop off site near Gatlinburg.

If you would like to donate, Innocenzi says they need new toys. He is collecting them at his barbershop located at 7526 Broadview Road, Parma Ohio 44134.