CLAYTON, Ga. (CBS46) -- A Rabun County couple had been away from their home for a couple of months for a hospital stay and returned only to find they had been robbed, and their home had been destroyed.
The Phillips family had spent months collecting toys for children for Christmas.
“We had a whole pile toys waiting for them, so we could start this past weekend, to pass out our presents, we didn’t get started this past weekend, because what wasn’t stolen, was absolutely destroyed,” said Maryjane Phillips.
Maryjane and Tony Phillips were residing in Loganville when the robbery happened.
“We were at the hospital, I stayed with my husband 24/7 at the hospital and rehab, while that happened,” Maryjane added.
On September 24, the Phillips went back to take care of some things when they came home to family heirlooms and other belongings dumped out and crushed.
“Our whole world changed,” Maryjane added, but that’s not what hurt the most.
“We had already collected a big truck load of Christmas toys for our mission,” added Maryjane.
They dress up as Hollie and Tiger Claus and travel all over Georgia, bringing toys to children of all ages.
“Foster groups, rural hospitals that people tend to forget, and pass out presents, and we never charge a dime,” said Maryjane.
Their house will have to be rebuilt, and there was more than 100,000 dollars’ worth of damage.
“I had to literally climb over stuff to get into my own home,” Maryjane added.
“A lot of it was just stuff that can be replaced, but there were things from my parents and stuff that can’t,” said Tony.
Despite that, they’re making sure children have presents.
“Our mission is the kids, regardless of what happens to us,” Maryjane said.
“Little kids will come up and grab your hand and say I love you, Santa, and that’s better than anything I could ever take to the bank,” added Tony.
This burglary tipped off multiple law enforcement agencies to something bigger. Thirteen people were arrested, and the investigation is ongoing.
“We’re going to do it whether you took our presents or not, because there are more presents out there, and genuine people who are willing to help these kids,” said Maryjane, “Santa still has more presents to deliver.”
If you’d like to help, you can email Maryjane at: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the instructions on the attached flyer.
To help the Phillips family click here