MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Every year the Salvation Army and volunteers help families in need shop for toys during the holiday season as part of the Salvation Army Toy Shop program.
Families who take part in the event may not be able to get gifts for their kids on their own, or need a little help, and that’s where the Toy Shop comes in. Organizers say they are expecting to help around 1,200 families pick out items for their children on Wednesday, December 18th alone.
"We want to make sure they have all the joyful opportunities that other children have. We don't want any kids left out, do we? At Christmas or any time of year," said Stephen Yoder with the Salvation Army.
All the gifts are donated, and all the people helping the shoppers are volunteers. First time volunteer Alyssa Trudell learned that it wasn't just shopping she was doing, but really getting to know the families involved
"There's a lot of similarities there, too, between what you cherish and what they cherish and you get to talk about that," said Trudell. "I think that it's important we all contribute to the holiday season and keep that in mind."
Those taking part in the experience say it's not about what is under the Christmas tree, but simply being able to share a gift with their children, that matters.
"I teach them the value of Christmas. It's not about all the big gifts, it's just coming together as a family and enjoying each other," said Alicia Stone. "My kids are my world so if they're happy, I'm happy."
Families benefiting from the Salvation Army Toy Shop applied for the opportunity and received a scheduled time and day to take part.