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toydistribution300.jpg Submitted by Chris Phillips on Fri, 12/16/2011 - 3:17pm.

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.

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