Updated: 12/17/2013 10:53 PM
Created: 12/17/2013 5:45 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
Salvation Army officials said Toyland Express will help 2,000 families in need this Christmas. However thousands of toys were still needed on Tuesday.
Hundreds of volunteers work all year to make the annual event possible, but all that sweat does pay off according to Program Supervisor Nancy Leslie.
“We get a lot of smiling faces and a lot of hugs. The staff lives for the hugs on these days because the people are happy that we're able to do this for them,” Leslie said.
For the families in need the event gives them more than just a ham dinner and some stocking stuffers. Denise Tarrant said she got injured at work and lost her income. She said without Toyland Express that would mean to presents under the Christmas tree.
“There would be no presents. That's hard to say to an 11-year-old girl. I know she would toughen up, but no there would be no Christmas,” Tarrant said. “It really does help a lot for a child, and for my family, and for the food. I'm so very blessed and thankful for the Salvation Army for doing it.”
But the recent cold snap has put a chill on the heartwarming event. Leslie said toy donations were way down this year.
“Bentleyville is low and so is everything else because of the cold weather and stuff we have. We are still short 2,000 toys that we need to have between today and Thursday to get us through this,” Leslie said.
Still, she's hopeful the community will step up by Thursday to give every kid a proper Christmas.
“The public always comes through for us so we're asking for some more help at this point,” Leslie said.
The Salvation Army is asking for new, unwrapped gifts for children ranging in age from infants to 16-years-old. Click here for a list of donation locations.
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