The Salvation Army’s Christmas Bureau began its massive toy distribution on Thursday, helping thousands of families provide gifts for their children.
A sea of bags filled with gifts fill the organization’s Christmas Center on Arrowood Road and a line of people stand outside. Every 15 minutes, 50 more families get to go inside.
Newly assembled bicycles line the center, but the need still exceeds the supply. Parents get to spin a wheel to determine whether they’ll get a bike for their child.
Angela Dunn was one of the lucky ones to get a bike and said without the Christmas Bureau, there would not be a Christmas in her family.
“It's just a blessing and an inspiration to all the children, for people who can't afford Christmas and stuff,” Dunn said.
This year, that's more people than ever. Between now and Wednesday, the bureau will help 6,200 families, which include nearly 14,000 children.
"(It is) a real community collaboration,” said Maj. Todd Hawks with the Salvation Army. “It is an opportunity for folks to participate in a number of ways. They can either donate their resources, or donate angels.”
Community members can also volunteer their time. Yauna Williams has helped out at the Christmas Center for the past three years and said donating gifts is important, but donating time is even better.
“It's easy to buy stuff for the Angel Tree, but it feels better to come and give your time and energy to the kids and help them out,” she said.
Donations are still needed, particularly gifts for older children and bicycles for children of all ages. For more information, call 704-716-2643 or click here.