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Toy and Joy shop opens for needy families

Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 4:02 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - At the Salvation Army’s “Toy and Joy” shop families in need try to find a toy, game or even clothing for their children this Christmas. Local residents who wonder what happens to a donation made to the “Angel Tree” this is it.

In November families signed up for the program and for the next three days they will come to their appointment and collect items as Christmas gifts for their kids.

“Belle” a mother and grandmother tells us it doesn’t matter the appointment, there is always something here children will like.

“It’s not like if you signed up you get the first best stuff. No,” says Belle. “They rotate their toys they are really good about that,” she says.

There are families who have been part of the program for years.

There are others who find themselves experiencing financial times that is unfamiliar to them; but does not go unrecognized by their children.

“My daughter, she asked for a blessing for the family,” says Jana. “She asked us if she could go get a job to help us out. She is only 7. She is really sweet. They know we are in a hard spot and they just asked for socks and underwear,” she says.

Jana says she will surprise her two children with some handpicked toys and puzzles from the shop.

No matter what their story, participants in the program say they are treated with respect. About 24-volunteers help during each shift assisting parents looking for the perfect item.

Organizers say COVID has slightly altered the way they conduct the program. But the alterations haven’t changed the mission here. “We plan for about ten families every 15 minutes,” says LeAnn Trimmer with the Salvation Army.

“And we have put some of those restrictions in place just so that people feel comfortable and safe being here, both our volunteers and the people that we serve,” she says.

Trimmer says this year the Salvation Army will help about 600. That’s about the same amount as last year.

Fortunately, she says Northern Nevada has stepped up and filled the Toy and Joy Shop with donated items so no one goes home empty handed.

The “Toy and Joy” shop will be open until Friday afternoon. At which point they’ll pack up and start all over again next November 2022.

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