A holiday blessing; Salvation Army Toy Shop hands out toys for 718 children
Published 10:19 am Friday, December 18, 2015
For Isaac Baker, the Austin Salvation Army Toy Shop is a blessing during the holidays.
“I’m picking out gifts for my fiancé’s kids and I — she has two kids and I have two kids,” Baker said.
Baker, along with many other families, signed up a few weeks ago and stood in line Thursday to choose about seven presents for each child that was registered for the Toy Shop. Salvation Army Lt. Laura Amick said this year, 718 children were signed up for the Toy Shop.
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“It’s low this year, we had over 900 last year, so we’re really down considerably,” she said. “And I’m hoping that’s good economy, people are working and the need isn’t there. That’s what I’m hoping for.”
Amick was happy to see all the people that are blessed this year by the community’s donations. Early Thursday morning, she had one mother in tears because she was so happy to have gotten one specific toy for her child.
“I’m ecstatic about that, what a wonderful gift for that family,” Amick said. “She’s so excited about Christmas now.”
Amick said with the lower number of children this year, and the generous giving from community members, businesses, churches and more, it has been a good year and things have run smoothly so far. The donations came from toy drives such as Angel Tree and Toys for Tots, along with personal toy drives like Hormel Helping Hands’ drive and toy donation bins in stores.
“Thanks to the community for all the donations,” Amick said. “They’ve spent a lot of money on us, they’ve given money for all these people in need, and so it’s just amazing this community is very, very giving, and we say that every year but every year I’m just amazed again.”
Amick hopes through this program, people will know that there are people out there who care even if they don’t know who is receiving the gifts.
“We just want people to know that we care and we’ll help as much as we can,” she said. “We don’t want anybody to wake up on Christmas morning and be alone or without anything.”
For Baker in his first winter in Austin, the presents for his 10-, 8-, 7-, and 4-year-old children are a blessing.
“I am very grateful to people who do do it, who go above and beyond, and give back to the community and give back to kids,” he said. “I know what it’s like growing up and struggling and when I was little I don’t remember them having this.”
“I think it’s very helpful, especially for families in need that don’t get a lot — that struggle — it’s a good way for the community to come together and give to families in need,” he added.