Christmas is about giving… not receiving. This message is one that is sometimes hard to remember, but nevertheless, the Salvation Army is seeing that a lot of people around the Roanoke Valley are remembering it this holiday season.
You may have seen the Salvation Army Angel trees while you were out shopping… those trees hold the names of children who come from families who are struggling this Christmas. And while most of the trees are gone by now, there is still one on display at Valley View Mall. The deadline to become a sponsor and submit a present for the angel tree is Sunday, December 9. You can take the gift either to Valley View Mall or to the Salvation Army Distribution Center behind Carmike Theater at Tanglewood Mall. “It is very important to submit a present if you have been assigned to a child,” stressed Suzanne N. Gandy, the Executive Director of Development for the Salvation Army. She went on to say, “For a lot of kids these are the only presents they will get this Christmas… that’s what this is all about.”
Joe Kuehn is in charge of quality control and looks for any problems with the bikes, scooters, and wagons that are donated. “So far, I’m only seeing tires that need a little air or wagons that need a little tweaking,” Joe said. Joe is one of the many volunteers who have given their time to help put together this massive project. Suzanne Gandy is in charge of the whole program and is also in charge of putting together the “The Christmas Toyland” that is open to the public on December 17 from 4:30pm to 6:30pm. This is an open house so that the community can celebrate the joy of giving this holiday season. “Without the community, we wouldn’t be here,” said Suzanne. “We will have around 4,000 kids to help this Christmas… it takes a community to make this happen.”
On Monday, December 17, the community will be able to see what their hard work has produced. The open house will be filled with joy, love and the spirit of giving. Suzanne told me that Santa Claus is making a visit, the Southwest Virginia Ballet is performing excerpts from the Nutcracker, Kingdom Life Ministries Gospel Choir will be singing carols, and there will even be an heirloom doll silent auction at the event. You can also take the Candyland Trail through a world of toys for girls and boys. There will also be refreshments and a nativity scene as well.
Christmas is about giving… and that is exactly what the Salvation Army is doing and what the hundreds of volunteers are doing. This is what community is all about… coming together to help those in need and put a smile on the faces of boys and girls this holiday season.