PITTSBURG, Calif. (KRON) — It was a happy end to a hectic holiday week for a boxing gym in Pittsburg. On Monday, The Lion’s Den Boxing Gym was burglarized.

The money stolen jeopardized the non-profit’s first toy drive, but the community stepped up with donations. The event ended up exceeding expectations — what seemed impossible to start the week became reality on Christmas Eve.

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“In life, you go through hard times, but what knocks you down shouldn’t keep you down,” said gym manager Wali Herawi.

Dozens of kids throughout the community swing by The Lion’s Den Boxing Gym in Pittsburg to take home their first presents of the holiday season. Unaware that if not for generous donations from a sympathetic public, the non-profit’s first annual holiday toy drive would not have happened.

“It was heartbroken to hear that, like, someone would come and break into a gym that’s here for the community, here for the kids and to see everybody come together and rally together and put this together for the kids it’s just a blessing, and you could only thank God for what has happened,” said Oakland native and pro boxer Amari Jones.

On Monday morning, a thief broke through the gym’s front door and, along with an accomplice, stole a safe.

It contained the gym’s rent money, and the cash set aside to pay for the holiday gifts. In less than a week, the community raised more than $10,000 online to keep the toy drive alive.

Herawi says that allowed the gym to purchase more than 400 toys for the event. The money left over will benefit the gym and its neighbors into next year.

“It’s very important to teach these kids also that giving back, it’s very important in life to be able to have your hand open at all times and not always closed and hanging onto stuff,” Herawi said.

Jones, 20, says he trains and fights here because kids in underserved communities need role models. He fights in the super welterweight division (154 lbs) and is 8-0 with 7 knockouts — with his most recent fight on the undercard of Oakland boxer Devin Haney’s undisputed lightweight title win in Australia on Oct. 15.

As for the thieves who have not been caught…

“Merry Christmas to them too, you know what I mean,” Herawi said. “Maybe they needed it more than we did, but you know, I said it the other day, I think maybe this was a blessing in disguise for us, cause aside from the donations, aside from the money, being recognized for doing something positive is more important.”

And that encapsulates the holiday spirit.