12/21/11 — Salvation Army gives out food and toys

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Salvation Army gives out food and toys

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on December 21, 2011 1:46 PM

Brenda Zamora choked back the tears as she told her 8-year-old daughter, Sara, there would be no Christmas this year.

The 37-year-old mother had just started a full-time job last month and was desperately trying to catch up on the bills. She had only enough money to buy a little something for Sara's 3-year-old brother, Ricky.

But that changed Tuesday when Brenda picked up a bag of toys for both of her children -- including a pink bicycle for Sara -- through the Salvation Army's Christmas program.

"My daughter had really wanted a bike," Brenda said. "She doesn't have any idea she's getting one."

Brenda's face filled with joy as Salvation Army volunteer Marshall Smith helped her load the pink bicycle into the trunk of her mini van.

Brenda also picked up a bag of presents for the two children that her mother has adopted. Her mother couldn't be there because she had to make an emergency trip to Texas to take care of a sick sister.

So Brenda will have 11-year-old Amy and 8-year-old Carlos for Christmas.

"But they'll be happy because of all these gifts," Brenda said. "The Salvation Army gives a whole lot, and it's something that makes the kids have a bigger smile at Christmas."

She said the Salvation "does the best thing anybody could ever do in this world. They're our little angels. They take care of us. I'm so glad we have them because if we didn't, I don't know what the kids' Christmas would be like."

Brenda also picked up a box of food, which will be her family's holiday dinner.

She said she hopes to have her bills caught up by next Christmas so she can pick a name or two from the Salvation Army's angel tree and return the kindness that someone she will never meet has shown to her this year. And she plans on helping during the distribution day.

Inetta Campbell, 25, picked up toys and clothes for her children, Jordan, 5, and Jalynn Matthews, 2.

She was grateful to any help from the Salvation Army this year after an event in her life caused her to be homeless. She and her children had been living in a domestic violence shelter, but just recently things changed for Inetta and she now has her own apartment.

But things are still sparse for the single mother.

"If it wasn't for people like the Salvation Army and all the volunteers, my kids wouldn't really have a Christmas," Inetta said. "I just think this is awesome."

And like Brenda, next year when Inetta sees the Salvation Army's angel tree, she will definitely pick off a name.

"The Salvation Army helped me when I needed help," she said. "I know other people need help, too."

Volunteers and staff of the Salvation heard that over and over Tuesday as they helped people to their cars with toys, clothes and food.

The Salvation Army assisted 265 families this year, Commander Lt. Kenny Igleheart said.

Gifts and toys were donated by people in the community who picked names off the organization's angel trees. Most of the food was collected by Wayne County's schools, with the Salvation Army purchasing some of it.

"That's why we're here," Igleheart said, "to help when people need assistance to get back on their feet. Most people don't need help all the time, just during the period when something dramatic has happened in their lives and they need a little assistance."

That was the situation with one woman the group helped this year. She was homeless when she applied for Christmas help back in October.

"My wife prayed with her and worked with her," Igleheart said. "We just found out Tuesday that she has gotten a home and a job. She was just so thankful for the prayer that my wife shared with her and that God had come forward and had worked in her life."

Before the start of the Christmas giveaway, Igleheart reminded his volunteers that the Salvation Army was founded upon helping people with a physical need, and also a spiritual need.

As recipients took their presents and food to their cars, volunteers and staff took a moment to pray with them.