PHILADELPHIA (December 21, 2018) – 5,000 families across Greater Philadelphia will celebrate Christmas this year with some help from The Salvation Army and its generous supporters. Toy drives throughout the month of December have netted mountains of gifts for local youth – everything from basketballs and skateboards to puzzles and dollhouses.
Community partnerships like CBS 3’s Joy of Sharing Toyfest campaign, together with contributions from our friends at the Philadelphia Flyers and Cricket Wireless to name a few, plus all of the individual donors make The Salvation Army’s Christmas assistance program possible.
“I just want to say ‘thank you’ for blessing these precious children during this holiday season,” Chaplain Donna Hightower proclaimed about all of the donations to The Salvation Army this holiday season. Chaplain Donna oversees the social services department at The Salvation Army’s West Philadelphia Corps Community Center, which provided Christmas assistance to an estimated 600 families this year.
“In January I was in a bad car accident. I’ve been out of work for a whole year,” shared Madeline Davis, who was receiving gifts for her granddaughters. “Now I am disabled. I can’t do the work I was doing. This is a blessing.”
On Thursday December 20 and Friday December 21, parents and guardians lined up at the West Philadelphia Corps Community Center at 55th and Market Streets to pick up the gifts they had pre-registered for in the fall.
“I do the best I can. I reach out for help. I’m not ashamed,” said Madeline, who leans on The Salvation Army from time to time. “They give you the word of God. They help out if you are in need,” she added.
Ebony Culbreath was delighted to see the gifts that were waiting for her little girls. As a working mom of three daughters, ages seven, five and three, Ebony said she tries not to beat herself up about not having the money to buy Christmas gifts.
“I walk in faith. I live day by day and do what I can do,” Ebony said. “This is so great. I really try to instill it in their character too, so they appreciate it.”
Chaplain Donna, along with teams of volunteers and staff greeted the families at the West Philadelphia Corps as they arrived to pick up their presents, which were all sorted and packed in big bags. Big smiles, handshakes and hugs were the only currency on this day.
“The gift of serving is what Christmas is all about,” said Chaplain Donna.
When it’s all said and done, The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia will have distributed more than 20,000 toys and gifts to local children from struggling families.