Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia Provides Gifts and Toys for 11,000 Children
Theresa Seals had worried what Christmas would bring this year. The grandmother of two little boys gets by on a fixed income that doesn’t leave much room for gifts from Santa. As she left The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia’s headquarters with bags full of toys, games and books, she was overcome with emotion.
“The stuff that you give out, and the donations that are sent in, is truly, truly a blessing. I really, really thank you with all of my heart,” Theresa said with tears in her eyes.
Theresa is among thousands of families across the area who received Christmas assistance from The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia this season. December 21 marked the final distribution of gifts before the holiday.
“It will be a nice little Christmas for these two little boys,” Theresa said.
Tables were stacked high with toys sorted by age and gender. Escorted by a volunteer, parents and guardians selected items for each child. They also picked out books, board games and stockings stuffed with little presents.
“I like seeing people excited that they get toys for their children that they might not otherwise,” said volunteer, Sarah Babijaev. “Just seeing them happy makes me happy.”
More than 400 community toy drives, as well as individual donations, resulted in the collection of tens of thousands of toys and gifts for children ages 12 and under. CBS 3’s Joy of Sharing Toyfest campaign is a major contributor each year. Through MORE-FM’s Stocking for Kids program, listeners donate filled stockings. Throughout the month of December, dozens of Salvation Army staff and volunteers have been working on sorting and preparing the items for distribution days like this one.
“It’s reassuring to know what you’re doing is actually helping people,” said Jessica Gray, who escorted families as they picked out presents.
Since 1879, The Salvation Army has provided assistance during the holiday season to
enable the less fortunate to celebrate Christmas. The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia distributed gifts to more than 11,000 children this year.
“I did not expect all of this,” said Sareeta Hoffman of South Philadelphia. “I actually
found some things that actually were asking for, so I’m blessed to receive.”
The mother of four boys and one girl, ages 10 through four, had a message for everyone who made this possible. “Thank you and stay blessed. Thank you for blessing me and others,” she said.