The Salvation Army – Giving Gifts To the Kids Who Need It!

Corps officers Major Tom and Kay Mason

Major Kay and Major Tom Mason

All families go through tough times, whether it be economic, emotional, physical… How these times effect individual family members varies, but when it comes to economic challenges, it can leave some children not being able to experience the holidays to the fullest.  Think of the surroundings you grew up in.  Were there so many toys every holiday that you couldn’t possibly play with them all within a day’s time? Or maybe your family could barely afford to get you one toy…

Wouldn’t you want every child to experience the holidays the way they were meant to be celebrated -with a great meal, gifts, and a sense of happiness? That is the goal of the Salvation Army with their Toy Collection Campaign.

Salvation Army officers Major Tom and Major Kay Mason spearhead the Army’s Toy Collection Campaign. Major Tom came into Runde the other day to pick up the Runde Community Support Truck that will help them out immensely with the event. Major Kay was with him and was gracious enough to sit down for a few minutes with me to explain the toy collection campaign.

Hello Major Kay, can you give me an overview of what the Toy Collection Program is and what it all involves?
We usually start the whole thing during the 3rd week of November. This is when families come in and sign-up to receive toys and/or food. The families must meet the guidelines set up by the Department of Human Services (DHS) for the program. After they’ve signed up, we provide anywhere from 525-530 families with food and/or toys for the holiday. We like to limit the number of families to around that range so that we can stay within our budget.

Is this a Salvation Army event or are other agencies involved?
It’s the Salvation Army’s event and we are partnered with “Toys for Tots”.  We call them “The Calvary” because what we do is purchase toys with the budget we have and then we depend on people to drop off and donate the rest of the toys. Toys for Tots fills that need greatly. We also have an Angel tree at Borders Book Store for donations the public can help with.

Can you give me a little more detail about the program… how many toys do you expect to be giving out this year?
Dubuque has supported us very well. This year we are able to give out anywhere from 1,800-2,000 toys. We give the parents or guardians of the child a letter telling them to come at a certain time when we are giving out the food and gifts. When they arrive, at their predetermined time, the parent or guardian picks out the toys for the children located in our basement.

Each child gets 1-2 new big toys 1-2 medium toys and 1-2 small toys.  Then we have little “give-aways” like coloring books, crayons, etc. and fill their bags with those things.

You said the gifts have to be new?
We believe that the children getting these gifts deserve to have new and unopened items. We don’t want to give them used goods when they should get something new for the holidays.

What else is the Salvation Army planning this Holiday?
We provide food vouchers for the families so they can go out and buy Christmas dinner.
We also do “Adopt-a-Family” where certain families decide that they really don’t need anything new for Christmas, so they use the money they could have spent on themselves and make arrangements to provide for a less fortunate family.

How far does the program cover, geographically?
We are in the Tri-States, there are set boundaries – I think Epworth, Elkader, Dyersville, Farley, Freeport are all within our boundaries… sometimes we go into Illinois and Wisconsin but not very far because there are different Salvation Army’s there that have their own programs.

Where should people bring the toys if they want to donate?
They can bring the toys to the Salvation Army at 1099 Iowa Street. We are there Monday through Friday from 9a.m. to 4p.m. We only take new toys that are still in the original packaging. Right now we are kind of short on the 9-12 age range for toys.  There are no requirements as far as the toys go … just that they have to be new and unopened. There is no price-minimum or limit or anything like that.

How is the Runde Community Support Truck helping you this year?
Runde’s is letting us use the Community Support Truck which is very helpful.  Since we are so small we don’t have a big truck.  We have a van that can’t really handle everything we need to transport. The truck is really nice because we don’t have to make so many trips back and forth to pick up toys now. (And they loved the hydraulic lift!) Perry Mason recommended The Runde’s Community Support Truck because he had experience using it over the summer and said it was great. We really appreciated the help Runde’s gave us.

Where and what are you going to be transporting?
We are transporting toys from the “Toys for Tots” Warehouse over to our basement at 1099 Iowa Street where our Toy Shop is and where the families will come to pick up the toys.

It really is a great program that you guys are putting together and we are happy to help in any way we can.
Thank you.  Runde’s has been a great help and we will always keep you in mind looking towards the future.

If you have any donations you would like to make to this event you can drop off your new toy to:

The Salvation Army
1099 Iowa Street
Dubuque, IA

Let’s put some smiles on kids’ faces this holiday season!

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