Volunteers begin huge task of sorting toys for Christmas angels - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Volunteers begin huge task of sorting toys for Christmas angels

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

If you adopted an angel, make sure you get those toys to the Salvation Army as soon as possible. Wednesday was the deadline to drop-off toys and other gifts for the Angel Tree Program. Volunteers were busy sorting and organizing toys for about 3,000 needy children across the Mississippi coast.

It was a bustling scene at the Salvation Army Family Store in Gulfport. Half of the building has been converted into Santa's Workshop. The elves were scurrying about, sorting through boxes and bags of toys.

"Our Christmas elves are in the back making sure that everything is organized and set up and ready for next week," said Major Terry Ray, Salvation Army Area Commander.

This is a hectic time of year for the volunteers, as thousands of donations begin arriving for the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program.

"There's a lot of trucks coming in, a lot of deliveries, folks dropping off angels that they've adopted out," said Ray.

The Marine Corps van made three deliveries of gifts collected through the Toys for Tots campaign. Trinity Episcopal Church of Pass Christian also donated 24 stockings for older angels.

"We discovered seniors who were not getting anything for Christmas, just getting food. So instead of children, we decided to do what we call 'silver stockings,'" said Evelyn Gregory, a church member.

Employees at Horne CPAs and Business Advisors of Biloxi dropped off 50 stockings for the little ones.

"It feels great. All the team members had a great time. It's going to be great thinking about all the smiles on the kids' faces when they receive these gifts," said Alfred Scruggs.

Whether they are giving toys or their time, the South Mississippi community is coming together to fulfill some Christmas wishes.

"It really is touching. I mean this is basically strangers making sure that people that they don't know and children they don't know and may never meet, have something under the Christmas tree at Christmas time," said Ray.

Although Wednesday was the deadline to bring in toys, the Salvation Army will continue to accept toys through next week. The toys will be distributed next Monday and Tuesday by appointment only.  There are three distribution sites.

Also on Wednesday, the Feed the Children organization delivered 400 boxes of food and personal hygiene products to the Salvation Army Family Store. The gifts will be given out during the Angel Tree toy distribution. Since there is not enough food for all the families, the recipients will be chosen at random.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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