Salvation Army Angel Distribution Day provides food and toys to 280 families, including 650 children

December 21, 2022 | 12:09 am

Updated December 21, 2022 | 12:14 am

Photos by Melody Wallace

A steady stream of cars traveled through the Salvation Army parking lot Tuesday morning on South Ewing Road morning as food boxes and Angel Tree items were distributed to the 280 families who registered for assistance.

As each car entered the lot, the driver was verified on a registration sheet and handed a box with the necessary food items for Christmas dinner. Each vehicle was then tagged with a sticky note that corresponded with a numbered bag inside the Salvation Army gymnasium which contained toys and clothing items for the number of children specified in the family. This practice was put into place in December 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to that year, families came into the building to pick up their items.

Families registered for the Angel Tree assistance program in October and the children’s names from each family were placed on angel trees throughout the community for sponsorship. Through the generosity of local individuals, businesses, churches, and community organizations, 650 children were able to receive clothes, toys, and care items. 

Owensboro Toys for Tots helped supplement additional toys so that each child in the family received an equitable amount. 

Salvation Army volunteer Tiffany May said that the program was able to serve approximately 100 more children than they did last year. May, a substitute teacher with Daviess County Public Schools (DCPS), has been volunteering with the Salvation Army Angel Tree program for nearly 30 years and has seen the benefits firsthand.

“It’s one of my favorite programs they do,” May said. “Times get tough and a lot of people go through ups and downs. Christmas is so important. I want the parents to feel proud that their kids were taken care of.”

In order to ensure parents could provide their children with Christmas gifts, over 40 volunteers came together Tuesday morning to deliver bags, boxes, and bicycles to the families waiting in their cars. Individuals from Toys for Tots, local veterans, school employees, and employees from local businesses came out to ensure each family received their items in time for Christmas.

Christian West, a 20-year-old employee at Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, encouraged two of his friends/co-workers to join him in handing out toys Tuesday. West said he attended the Salvation Army’s summer camp when he was younger and began volunteering with the Angel Tree program with his mother, Tina Dowell, around the age of 10. Dowell, a U.S. Bank employee, uses her vacation days each year to help sort and bag the thousands of items that have been donated through the Angel Tree program. She has passed that commitment service on to her son.

“I like doing it and giving back to the community,” West said. “It’s a good organization. Through all the years I’ve been here, I’ve seen them help a lot of people and I just wanted to be a part of that.” 

Josh Hall was one of seven Regional Water Resource Agency (RWRA) employees who gave up a day of digging storm drains and sealing manholes in order to assist with toy and food distribution. He said he and four other co-workers were hired in together and have only been on the job for three months.

“They just asked for volunteers,” Hall said. “Our company pretty much does anything for the city and to help out the community. When they asked for volunteers, we were like, ‘Anyway we can help support.’”

Hall said one of his favorite moments was delivering toys to a woman with a car full of children and seeing the excitement on their faces.

“It was nice to see that,” he said, his co-workers adding how good it felt to help out for the sake of the kids.

December 21, 2022 | 12:09 am

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