Salvation Army workers and volunteers deliver toys and CHEER to families

Published 9:08 pm Friday, December 16, 2022

Salvation Army workers and volunteers came together this week to bring smiles and Christmas cheer to local families in need of toys.

A brisk turn in the weather didn’t stop these devoted folks as the annual toy distribution went on throughout the day. They worked hurriedly to assist the many parents in line with hopes for the help to ensure their children have a Merry Christmas.

Salvation Army Corps Officer Capt. Angel Simmons explained the process of giving out toys at the event.

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“We have volunteers who help pack as well as workers [who] bag for the families,” Simmons said. “So people told us what their kids wanted and we tried to the best of our ability to get things that are in that category of toys.”

Thanks to many monetary donations, the Suffolk Cheer Fund helped to provide purchases for many of the toys distributed at the event.

Simmons said assistance of the Cheer Fund, Toys for Tots and the Joy Fund are important to the Salvation Army.

“The goal with helping with Christmas is there are people who would end up having to choose between rent and their children having something for Christmas,” she said. “We get help with Cheer Fund and with Toys for Tots and through the Joy Fund to be able to assist families with Christmas.”

 

Words from volunteers

Elijah Watson enjoys volunteering each year since he started serving with the Salvation Army toy distribution.

“An older gentleman from my church years ago recommended this event to me. I loved doing it, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. I’ve done it for years,” Watson said. “Was not able to during the pandemic and I’m glad to be back and show the love of Christ to some people.”

Likewise, volunteer Zachary Watson talked about his involvement in the annual toy distribution.

“I’ve actually served in years past before, but the pandemic hit and then we went a few years and weren’t able to volunteer,” he said. “But I’m happy and very thankful to be able to volunteer and show the love of Christ to the community.”

Volunteer Elder Turner, a member of Faith Temple Apostolic, also shared how he got involved with volunteering with the Salvation Army.

“I started working with Capt. Simmons and joined the men’s group here, so I come out to volunteer to assist in whatever way possible, because God is a God of giving. He doesn’t take, He gives,” Turner said.

 

Distribution’s local impact

Each of those interviewed at the toy distribution shared their hopes for what local residents take away from their efforts.

Capt. Angel Simmons said she hopes people will see there are others in the community who care.

“We don’t do this on our own. There’s so many groups and people who donated and gave for this to happen,” Simmons said. “And it’s a community wide event, it’s all about everyone showing that we care about our community. I hope that people get that there are people who care and there are people who, if you just reach out, that are willing to help.”

For Elijah Watson, it’s about sharing the message of Christmas.

“I hope that people know that Christ loves them and we are here to try and spread the love of Christ this Christmas season,” he said.

Zachary Watson said he hopes people will be blessed by the event.

“That people will just feel cared about, loved about, and just know that they can have a Merry Christmas and most of all know that Jesus loves them more than they can ever know,” he said.

Elder Turner said he is praying that people can come together and unite as a people, as children of God, as people that God to show His love.

“That’s what He would love to see us display, and hopefully with events like this and organizations like the Salvation Army will begin to show people that all this hatred and bigotry and all of this killing… it’s not of God,” Turner said.

For information on volunteering and ways to donate, call 757-539-5201, or go to salvationarmypotomac.org/suffolk or email suffolkva@uss.salvationarmy.org.