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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Is it better to give than to receive? You can see both in action at the Salvation Army’s Distribution Center.

All of the toys, clothes and contributions make a difference in the families the charity helps. Today families were invited to shop for their kids, and for many this trip is their only source for presents.

The Salvation Army Distribution Center is a lot like Santa’s workshop: Lots of elves and no prices. It’s all free to the needy.

The charity says one big change is people who used to give now need.

“We have a lot of first timers, people who didn’t have to ask in the past, but unfortunately, because of the economy and the job loss or medical, they are actually having to get help this year,” the Salvation Army’s Kimberly Bell said. “These are families that last year may have bought an outfit for us or bought a couple of toys, and they are now on our Angel Tree.”

There are a lot of toys, and it’s a big operation serving the hundreds in need, but you get a sense the volunteers get a lot for their effort

“It’s so heart-warming and heartfelt to see the generosity of the public and the churches and the individuals and the organizations. When they know we have a need, they get busy, and they contact people,” volunteer Laraine Butler said.

Every year the Salvation Army comes through for those in need in our area. Some would not have a Christmas without them.

So how do they match a need that grows each year? With help from the community and faith

“Yes, we are making it,” Bell said. “We are making it with the generosity of the people in New Hanover and Brunswick and Pender and Bladen and Columbus County. They’re all pitching in, and everybody’s helping, and everybody’s in the wonderful spirit of christmas, and everybody’s in the spirit of giving, so we make it. We make it off of the faith of others, and they know what we do with what you give us.”

The Salvation Army helped about 400 families today and more than 1,600 overall this holiday season. That comes out to more than 4,000 kids with a brighter Christmas thanks to you.

Comment on this Story

  • Denise Evans

    My name Denise I’m a single mother I don’t have a job

  • Neiocia Williams

    Hi I have 2 children and a step-daughter whom I also help take care of. We live in a bad area and my car and apartment building recently got shot up and as a result im no longer with a car which means any day now im going to lose my job. i help everyone out that needs my help but now it is me who needs the help. I need to move and i also need to get another car. the car that i owned had a title own on it but i was paying on it every month so im not behind but i also had full coverage on my car which did me no good, because being that my car is paid for, and being that its a older car with a title loan on it my insurance company is cutting the check to the title loan company and taking my car all in the same breath. I dont have the money to buy it back so im without a car and also on the verge of loosing my job because of this. Can you please help because if i loose my job my kids will not have a christmas or birthday because their birthdays are one month after christmas…..

  • Janet Arreola

    Hi my name is Janet & I am a single mom. I am 20 years old and really need a lot of help, I have a 4 year old daughter she will start pre school soon. I am looking for as much help as I can get I would truly appreciate it. I have been a single mom sense I found out I was expecting, my child is my everything It would really mean a lot if someone help. Please contact me through email sense I don’t have a cell at the moment

  • Andrea Bell

    My name is Andrea Bell I lost my job recently, I’ve been looking times are hard by the holidays being here. I have a 13 year old boy thats always wanting he knows that I lost my job but he still don understand he is a kid. This is very hard for us but we do to get us threw it if anyone know some one that can help call 314-243-0520 ask for Andrea Bell

  • sheryl wyche

    and my number is 434-632-1667

  • Kelly Williams

    I have a friend with 2 boys 12 and 8 and a little girl whose 3…….. I work with the mom and dad…..the father got hurt and couldn’t work for awhile my gf used all there savings to bearly pay bills and my friend works everyday plus any shift someone is willing to give up but it still isn’t enough to pay there bills much less have Christmas! This family is unlike any I have ever known they are givers and good hardworking caring people!! My friend says this Christmas is going to be all about old tradition which is great but im a mother of two boys and I know you still want your child to have something on Christmas. .. she said she is glad she doesn’t have cable so they can’t see what toys they are missing out on. She is brave please help nowhere else to turn. This girl won’t even order food after a long shift at work and I know she is hungry and we get it really cheap cause we work as servers but when her little girl comes in and is hungry she gets her the meal to fill her tummy. If our family could we would give them Christmas but we are bearly making it our way but at least we are making it wish I could say the same for them! Thanks for reading her story in vero beach Florida

  • sheryl wyche

    hi my name is sheryl I have three little girls ages 4, 3 and 2 I haven’t worked in over 5 months and my husband is disable so am I cause I have cancer and i have had 4 surgerys in the last two years.all I’m asking is for a little help with my kids Christmas. they believe in Santa and two of them. are in school so please help us.GOD BLESS

  • sugey

    i am a mother with 3 kids and one of my children just had surgery and i got layed out of work becasue of therapy and doctors appointments for my son. i have not found any work and this year i am looking forward to giving my kids a chritmas present becasue they have not got any presents for the past 3 years and i feel really bad please halp

    thank you

  • tawana radford

    I’m lost my job and don’t know how I’m going to pay rent so I would be blessing if anyone. Can help my kids have at least some Limoges Christmas

  • help

    I have a family with recent loss. I need to make contact with SA…how can I do so?

  • Sunrise

    Im a mother of a lovin lil girl I just been cryin only get ssi she ask me mom is it christmas dont know what to tell her I have no money could not ever get a tree so I told her she cryed I ask y she say no one come get me im always with u dont no one love me lord it hurt me to my hurt she only 4 wish she could wake up to some I lost my mom this year now im with no 1 to call on im so stress cry so much made myself sick is there any 1 that can help I kno its last min I put her on the toys for tots but they ran out of toys was n line for hour didnt get nothing why my child if u can help call me 4696437586

  • sonia palma

    Hi my name is sonia, i am writing to see if i can get any help for a good friend how just lost her baby boy but has 4 other kids.my friend was going to have her baby on the 5th of this month.when she want to the hospital so they can induce her labor,they notice no heart beat.when they did an ultrasound the realize the baby was baby..she has been tell her doctor to induce her labor since she was 37 weeks do to the fact her baby was a big baby already but the doctor was going to do it then he said no.the hospital said the reason for the baby dead was,when the baby was smaller he muct of did a flip till the point that the umbilical want into a circle and made a not so as the baby was growing the not was getting tier.if her doctor where of listen to her,the baby will be alive today.today was her day to give birth but instread today was the day that she had to put her baby to rest..she has 4 other kids in which she cant buy them christmas gifts now..if you can help her in any way it will be very greatful..gril is 9 years old,boy 6,boy 5,and boy 3..she is in so much pain as a mommy for what has happen to her baby boy..
    thank you so much

  • sonia palma

    hi this is sonia again i just forget to leave my number if everyone wish to help my friend..i am the one who left the message about my friend who lost her baby…

    my name on the top of the page is sonia but my friends name is samantha

    contact 407 860-1024

  • Christopher and Rebecca Ellsworth

    I am owner/operator of my own small company. I have never needed help with Christmas for my children until now that I was let go from a realtors maintenance. I was a sub contractor. now I can barely keep the lights on. I expanded my business by fixing appliances and selling them. It was enough to keep the lights on but no one is buying reconditioned appliances right now. I’m just stressed out because Christmas is coming and every dime goes on utilities. I have never asked for help but my children need it. My name is Chris and I have 5 of our 8 living at home. If there is any suggestions please call me at 251-554-0128. If you know of anything or anyone we could get in touch with to help us would be so appretiated.
    Thank you and God Bless!!
    Chris and Rebecca Ellsworth

  • shelli wallace

    Hey my best friend is disabled and a single mother due to the father never been in the little angels life shes a 6 year old little girl named Heavenleigh and as of right now when she awakes Christmas morning there will be no visit from Santa. I overherd her ask her mother since she had a bad day at school if Santa would miss her house this year it broke my heart. If anyone can help please give me numbers to charities or if you can purchase presents for her to have Christmas it will be a blessing please help please


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