Toy, food collection helps make Christmas brighter for those in need

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The Salvation Army in Tillsonburg has discovered the value of social networking.

Best known for its Christmas season presence in Tillsonburg for 130 years, the church and its charitable work has kept up with the times.

Currently in the midst of its annual Christmas hamper gift and food drive, the local Salvation Army on Broadway Street found itself short of volunteers earlier this week.

Donna Acre, who has been involved in the program to help those in need for 22 years, said the amount of donations from the community overwhelmed available volunteers to sort the volume of food and gifts received.

Acre said a staffer suggested they post the need for volunteers on the Salvation Army’s Facebook page.

“Literally, within minutes we had 20 people respond,” Acre said. “The response was fantastic. It certainly impressed me.”

Response came from the community at large as well as clients, including a family and their two children.

The volunteers are now busy sorting boxes of food and gifts for placement in hampers.

Applications to receive a hamper will be processed this week. Acre said the criteria for receiving a hamper is an applicant’s source of income and expenses.

“But hardly anyone is turned away,” Acre was quick to add.

She said the need for help to provide a Merry Christmas for the less fortunate is “certainly not getting any less.”

“We need to continuously grow,” Acre said.

The biggest need for donations are toys for both boys and girls, 10 years and older.

The Christmas hampers will be handed out Dec. 21-22.

The traditional Salvation Army fundraising is the ubiquitous donation kettles manned throughout the community. The campaign got underway following Tillsonburg’s annual Santa Claus parade on the third Saturday of November.

“Contributions are up a little from last year,” Acre reported. “Even though we haven’t had snow, people seem to be in the Christmas mood.”



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