Salvation Army hosts a toy drive in hopes to help families in need

Salvation Army employee ringing bell to draw attention to the toy drive. Photo by Madeline Smith

Many say the holiday season is one for giving and not receiving, and the Salvation Army demonstrated the adage Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Volunteers were posted in front of the doors of the Thomasville road Walmart as they rang bells encouraging people to donate toys for their toy drive.

“We are making sure that we have enough toys for those who have registered for the Angel Tree Program and Toys for Tots,” said Margaret Armistead, volunteer coordinator at the Salvation Army.

The Angel Tree program assists poverty stricken families and provides clothing and gifts for their children in hopes to lift financial stress and leave smiles on children’s faces.

“We are just fulfilling the need to make people feel better about themselves, their family or getting back up on their feet. We want to help them be self-sufficient so they can have that inner well-being,” said Armistead.

“If someone adopts an ‘angel’ and buys what is on the list they will then bring it back to the office and we bag it for them,” said Armistead.

The front of Walmart, however, is not the only place that one can get involved with donating.

During the Christmas season, the Salvation Army also partners with organizations and anonymous donors by collecting clothing items and toys to assist parents in giving their children a merry Christmas. Florida A&M’s own Beta Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., has partnered with the Salvation Army for the same cause.

“The Salvation Army compiles a list of at least 1000 ‘angels’ and pairs them with different donors and organizations in the community,” said Marvin Leveille, second vice president of the Beta Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Angel Tree chair. “Our role is to collect the gifts and give them back to the Salvation Army.”

Leveille expressed that the “angels” are cards consisting of each child’s shoe size, clothing size, wants and needs. They are encouraging people on campus to get an “angel” and get what they can on the list.

“This is only the sixth day that we have been handing out angels, and we’ve already given out at least 650. We are looking to give out another hundred for the elderly, “ said Leveille.

“Knowing that we are putting smiles on not only children’s faces, but parents as well means a lot and it goes a long way during the holiday season.”

The fraternity will continue this partnership with the Salvation Army until Dec. 3.

The cards can also be found on Christmas trees, in offices, the mall and other public places around the city.

“I feel that the toy drive will continue to be a success,” said Michael Hicks, store manager at Walmart. “It is great that trusted and respected organizations in the community are working together to help families in need.”

The Salvation Army will continue to take over the doors of Walmart throughout the course of the holiday season according to Hicks.