December 7, 2012 10:14:08 AM
The Salvation Army and Walmart will be working together this weekend to provide another way for local residents to make Christmas brighter for area children.
The first annual "Fill the Truck" toy drive will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Columbus and West Point Walmart stores, located on Highway 45 North and Highway 45 South, respectively.
Although clothes will be accepted, Salvation Army Major Eric Roberts said new, unwrapped toys are better for the "Fill the Truck" drive, because they are easier to match to children in need. Givers who wish to give specific items are encouraged to adopt one of more than 200 Salvation Army angels hanging on trees at various locations around town, including Walmart, select Cadence and Trustmark banks and at the agency's office on Main Street.
Roberts said the Salvation Army hopes to provide gifts for more than 800 children this Christmas. In addition to the angel trees and "Fill the Truck" toy drive, bell ringers -- with their iconic red kettles -- will be soliciting monetary donations at stores throughout the Golden Triangle from now until Christmas Eve.
Last year, the Salvation Army raised more than $147.6 million nationally, using the funds to provide food clothing, shelter, financial assistance and other services to more than 30 million people.
Approximately 81 percent of Salvation Army programs saw an increase in need last year, with 56 percent of Salvation Army youth programs operating at or beyond capacity, according to a recent press release.
The Columbus Police Department is also still gathering toys for its annual Christmas toy drive. Donations are being accepted in the front lobby of the police department through Dec. 13. They are also accepting monetary donations and will hold a gift-wrapping fundraiser Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 at Leigh Mall.
For more information about the Salvation Army's Christmas campaigns, please call 662-327-5137.
For more information about CPD's Christmas campaigns, please call 662-244-3528.
Carmen K. Sisson is the former news editor at The Dispatch.
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