Wichita lawyers brighten kids' holiday with hundreds of toys

Cristal Gonzalez looked at the smiles on the four children's faces as each clutched a toy they otherwise would not have received this Christmas.

"It's really helping out in the long run," said Gonzalez, 28.

The unemployed mother and her four young children stood in a line of more than 1,500 people on a chilly Sunday afternoon to receive toys bought by the Pistotnik Law Offices the night before.

Lawyer Brad Pistotnik did not expect the turnout he saw Sunday morning, however.

"I'm really surprised to see so many people, but it just shows how many people are having trouble this year," Pistotnik said. "I'm afraid we're going to run out."

It was about three times the number of people who showed up last year for what is becoming an annual giveaway by the Wichita law firm run by Pistotnik and his brother Brian, along with their families and staff.

They arrived at about 10 a.m. Sunday, and by 10:30 there was a line, Brad Pistotnik said.

"We used to take the toys by the Salvation Army or the Children's Home, but then we thought it was just as easy to give them away here," he said.

A line stretched across the parking lot of the law firm on East Central, then around the corner and down a block on Erie. People filed up to the door, told Pistotnik how many children they had and were handed toys by staff members inside.

Pistotnik said he, family members and employees went to Wal-Mart on Saturday night to pick up the toys.

"We were pushing about 15 carts around," he said. "It was really quite a sight."

Pistotnik said Wal-Mart gave him about a $3,000 discount. They bought over 1,000 toys and spent more than $10,000.

Tiffany Sears, 27, a mother of three girls with a boy on the way, was grateful as she clenched an armload of toys.

"It think it's a blessing," Sears said. "A lot of people are out of work right now, and this really helps us."