Up to 820 families may have a brighter Christmas this year because of The Salvation Army’s Kids Toy Shop, helping families who have requested for Christmas assistance. Distribution of the 10,000 toys, acquired through donations and donated funds, is today Dec. 17, 2009 at the Indiana State Fairground’s Northwest Pavilion.
Upon arrival, those receiving Christmas assistance sign in and get a personal volunteer escort to help show them where the toys are for their children’s specific gender and age. Each family receives a board game, presents for their children, stocking stuffers and a $15 gift card to Wal-Mart.
It’s estimated that there will be 120 volunteers helping throughout the day, but it took many more to get Kids Toy Shop ready for distribution day. Volunteer coordinator Elizabeth Wilhelm said that many of the volunteers heard about the event through WIBC’s Radiothon.
Six year volunteer Bill Shaw helped with the table of toys for boys age 9 to 10 years old. “This is Christmas to me, people being able to give gifts to there children,” Shaw said.
Other regular volunteers included members of WISH-TV who have been helping with Kids Toy Shop for over ten years now. WISH-TV’s Joy Dumandan walked parents through the process to pick out gifts for their children.
“Every family we meet is unique and appreciative and that is heart-warming in itself,” Dumandan said. “A toy that is donated can bring a lot of smiles to a family.”
When parents finish there shopping, they are also given information on different Salvation Army services. Such services include after school care at the Eagle Creek Corp., Harbor Light rehabilitation center and summer day camp. Community partner Kool Smiles was also there to give families information on general child dental care.
Mother and caregiver of four, Chiliena Mayberry shopped at Kids Toy Shop this year. She takes care of her niece as well as her own children. Mayberry was especially appreciative of the Wal-Mart gift cards.
“It’s great,” Mayberry said about Kids Toy Shop. “I’m really impressed.”