The Salvation Army helping hundreds of central Illinois families this holiday season

DECATUR - Hundreds of central Illinois families will have a happier holiday season thanks to the help of The Salvation Army.

Families were able to sign up for food and toy assistance this holiday season from November 2 through November 6.  Salvation Army officials say they expect to help all of the more than 2,800 families who signed up for assistance this year.

Salvation Army volunteers gathered at 229 West Main Street in Decatur to assemble, fill, and distribute boxes filled with items needed to make a turkey dinner on Christmas.  Items in the boxes include a frozen turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, and a pumpkin pie.

Salvation Army Major Wes Dalberg tells WAND that approximately 1,200 boxes of food will be given to needy families, and that about 1,000 grocery vouchers will be distributed to seniors and single individuals.  Major Dalberg says this distribution is an opportunity "for families to have a meal together on Christmas Day."

Toys collected through the annual USMC "Toys for Tots" drive, the Salvation Army Angel Tree, and WAND's Spirit of Giving were distributed to registered families on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of last week.

Officials say an estimated 10,000 toys were collected throughout the campaign.  Families received one large toy, one small toy, and "stocking stuffers" for each child, as well as a game designed to be played by the whole family.

Major Dalberg also says that helping families "is the fun in what we do," and that "the real enjoyment and satisfaction" is watching parents receive gifts to give to their children.  

"During the holiday season, we want to see our fellow citizens do well," Dalberg says.

Additionally, the Salvation Army is seeking volunteers to help ring bells during the Red Kettle Campaign.  All funds collected through the drive will benefit Salvation Army programs in Macon County, and accounts for approximately one-fourth of the organization's budget.

For more information about the Salvation Army, click here.

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