One in seven London children comes from a low-income household. Those are the kids and families the Salvation Army seeks to help at this time of year with their annual hamper and toy giveaway, which resumes Monday at Western Fair District’s Progress Building.
Salvation Army’s annual food hamper and toy giveaway seeks toys for tots
If you’re thinking of giving, Salvation Army spokesperson Shannon Wise says the greatest need this year is for toys for kids up to two years old -writes lfpress.com.
“Any sensory items, anything with a mirror to see their face for the first time,” she said. “Anything that jingles. They like items that make noise.”
Although the program usually runs from a Monday to a Friday, this year there is a break because of the way the holidays fall on the calendar. Next week, on Monday and Tuesday, needy families can pick up a hamper – which includes all the ingredients for a traditional Christmas dinner, including turkey, carrots and potatoes — from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days.
When the program began earlier this week, organizers gave out 954 food hampers and more than 1,600 bags of toys on the first day alone.
“We are seeing significantly higher numbers the first few days in terms of children that we’re helping,” Wise said.
“Hidden poverty in London is a real issue,” she added. “That’s what we are trying to address.”
In previous years, one age group that has come up short in terms of gift donations is nine- to 12-year-olds. That’s not the case this Yule.
“It’s looking great in terms of toys for the tween age group. Sometimes that’s the age group that gets left out,” she said. Londoners have also given generously when it comes to the components that make up the Salvation Army hampers.
“We are solid for food,” Wise said.
Maybe you’re looking to give your time instead of food, toys or money. “We’re always in need of volunteers,” Wise said. Not only can you volunteer at the Progress Building, but there are also spots open until Dec. 23 to help man the organization’s iconic traditional Christmas kettles.
“Every year we see new faces, new situations” at Western Fair, Wise said. “We’re always here to meet the community’s needs.”
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