The Salvation Army church in East Trail was packed to the rafters last week as spiritual leaders Olivia and Andrew Sweet and their cheerful crew of elves set up a ‘toy shop’ for patrons, and boxed up Christmas hampers for families and individuals needing a hand-up this season.
Transforming the church into a toy store — one that certainly rivalled Santa’s toy warehouse in the North Pole — gave parents the opportunity to “shop” and choose gifts for their children. Pastor Andrew Sweet says this new more personable format of distributing gifts for children was not only free of charge, but also served as a way to provide equitable access for all families.
“During this Christmas season we had the two programs run in tandem; our hamper program and our new toy shop,” Sweet told the Trail Times.
“For households with children they will also be getting gift cards for food, and Christmas goody bags but, in addition, the caregivers were given the chance to shop for toys for their children.”
This year the Trail Salvation Army had over 200 households apply for Christmas support, he said, adding that the organization will also help 411 individuals over the holidays.
“For those households without children they were given gift cards to purchase food for the holidays as well as a Christmas goody bag,” Sweet explained, mentioning these gifts were distributed Monday through Friday last week from Kate’s Kitchen.
Individuals received food gift-cards and a goody-bag filled with produce and Christmas snacks. They were also welcome to grab items available at Kate’s Kitchen, like fresh bread or excess pasta.