Salvation Army, St. Simon’s distribute Christmas items to 270 families

December 14, 2013

salvation_army_food_toy_2By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — The Christmas season was made a little brighter for almost 270 Mason County families today. The second annual toy, clothing and food basket distribution was held at Ludington Area Catholic School. The distribution is a joint effort between the Salvation Army of Ludington and St. Simon’s Parish.

salvation_army_food_toy_1Earlier in the fall families applied to accept the items.

“This is just wonderful,” said Deb Wright, chairwoman of the Salvation Army of Ludington’s advisory board. “This has run very smooth and it’s wonderful to know that families are being helped.”

Capt. Timothy McPherson of the Salvation Army said the program was combined last year because St. Simon’s and the Salvation Army seemed to overlap in a lot of the services they offered.

The Girl Scouts offered gift wrapping.

The Girl Scouts offered gift wrapping.

“We believed we could have more impact if we worked together,” McPherson said.

When entering the buildings families are given a box of food that includes a ham from Sanders Meats, vegetables, milk, eggs, canned goods and vouchers from McDonald’s Bakery.

“I would say it’s enough for four meals,” McPherson said.

Families with children are then brought to a “shopping” area where there are clothes and toys for gifts. Families already registered and some made requests for certain items, which Salvation Army tries to accommodate. They even could get their gifts wrapped by Girl Scout volunteers.

Gifts and food are purchased from donations and grants. The Salvation Army received a $2,000 grant from Toys R Us to purchase toys and children’s items. An anonymous donor gave $1,000. Church Women United knit dozens of hats, scarves, mittens and socks. Donation drives were held at various businesses and workplaces.

McPherson said the most difficult ages groups to purchase items for are teenagers and 8- to 12-year-olds.

Some individuals and groups “adopted” families, meaning the paid for that entire family’s needs. Several other church and community groups were also involved.

Though today was the pickup day and families needed to pre-register, McPherson said it is likely that more items will be distributed.

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