Volunteers needed for to help with holiday programs

NILES — The Salvation Army is beginning preparations for Christmas Toy Shop and the annual Bell-Ringing Campaign. The charity organization is seeking local businesses to contribute or residents to volunteer for programs.    

Last year, through contributions, the Niles Salvation Army was able to reach hundreds of children with the Toy Shop and Adopt-A-Family programs. The Niles Salvation Army strives to provide each child with new gift items such as toys, clothing, books, games or stuffed animals.  These will be distributed to children and their families at the Toy Shop, where parents or guardians may do their “shopping” and pick out items as gifts for their children. Families are also provided with all the trimmings for their Christmas Dinner.   

Through the Adopt-A-Family program, individuals or companies elect to supply the gifts for the entire family, as well as the trimmings for their Christmas Dinner. Those interested in contributing will be supplied with the family’s “wish list” from their applications.  All distributions are handled through the Niles Salvation Army offices.

The Annual Kettle Campaign is how the Niles office obtains the majority of its budget. With the help and assistance of volunteers throughout the service area, bell ringers operate in shifts throughout the holiday season. The donations collected stay in the Niles office.

Businesses can participate in several ways:

  Set up a collection site with a container in which to collect new toys.  Here, employees and customers could drop off their donated items. The Niles Salvation Army will then pick up the donations at an appointed date and time.

• Christmas Angel Tree is a way to afford folks the opportunity to give. The Niles Salvation Army provides those interested with tags with the child’s name, age and gender, clothing sizes and gift choices. Those who donate are asked that the gifts not be wrapped, however people can include wrapping paper to be used for the gift later. Return the Angel Tree Tag and gifts per the return date to either location or the Niles address. A collection box can be provided if needed.

• Another option is to do a food drive and/or donate financially to make the provisions for Christmas dinners possible for community members in need. Those who wish to have a food barrel for donations can ask the Niles Salvation Army to supply one. 

• Toy Shop Elves — volunteers are needed to assist with taking applications, sorting donated toys, and assisting with the actual distribution of the gifts.  Multiple shifts are available with some being in evenings and on weekends.

• Bell ringers are always needed for many shifts throughout the day.  The Niles Salvation Army accepts individual volunteers, as well as company, church, and organizational groups.  Individual shifts are usually two hours each. 

Officials with the Niles Salvation Army said they continue to see an increase in those seeking assistance throughout the year, and especially during the holiday season. They asked anyone interested in helping them to serve the community to call (269) 684-2660 for more information.

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