ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – With just a little more than two weeks until Christmas, the Rochester Salvation Army, is making a plea for more presents.
For upwards of 600 Rochester families, the annual Toy and Joy Shop is their only chance to have something under the Christmas tree.
“Christmas time is a time when kids can really tell what their parent’s circumstances are,” said Rebecca Snapp, the Salvation Army Director of Community Engagement.
To take part in the two-day event which kicks off Dec. 19, residents need to set-up an appointment with the Salvation Army by noon on Dec. 14. All you need is a form of identification and proof of residency to apply and set a time during the Toy and Joy Shop to select gifts for your children.
“Pride should not get in the way or any sort of feeling of shame over their circumstances, we just want to make sure that anyone that is in need, that need is met,” said Snapp.
Sarah Maass of Rochester is a volunteer with the Salvation Army who sees an image of her former self in the parents at Toy and Joy.
“It’s kind of a lonely, sad feeling when you find yourself in a place where you want to give from your heart but there are no means to do such a thing,” said Maass.
She began volunteering for the charity in the fall of 2012.
“It’s one of those amazing opportunities to see families that are in a tight situation all of a sudden be given the opportunity to feel like they can do for their children,” Maas said.
The Salvation Army says they are in need of gifts for teenagers.
So far, there are 260 children between ages 13 and 17 in the families that have signed up to receive gifts. The Salvation Army has less than half the gifts they need for that age range, according to Snapp.
“When you get to teenagers, even kids who are 11 and 12 years old, they’re not gonna want a stuffed animal on Christmas morning. The teen gifts make a really big difference. Whether it be lotion, jewelry, sneakers for guys, all sorts of sports equipment, technology. It doesn’t have to be big expenses, just little things you can put into a stocking,” said Snapp.
Gifts and Donations can be dropped off at the Sharing Tree located inside the Apache Mall in Rochester.
“The people that come through and take part in the Toy and Joy Shop, whether they be volunteers that are willing to give up their times to help these families or the families that come through and are in need of some help, people really benefit in a way that is true to the Christmas season. We recognize that not everyone is going through the easiest times, it’s not always a bright and happy easy holiday season for everybody in this community but to be able to make anyone’s holiday just a little bit brighter is a real blessing and a real gift,” said Snapp.
The Salvation Army is also in need of volunteers this holiday season. You can give the gift of time here.