Salvation Army: Community saves Christmas for needy children

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The Salvation Army is thanking all those who made sure this will be a Merry Christmas for some Jackson County children. At a Pascagoula toy distribution on Wednesday, there almost wasn't a happy ending.

Katie and Matthew Freeman's mother wants to teach them about the true meaning of Christmas. So she took them to the Salvation Army toy distribution to volunteer.

"I want them to be grateful for what they have and appreciate to the Salvation Army for what they do in the community and give to others," said Lorri Freeman.

This year, the Salvation Army Angel Tree program is providing toys for 1,500 Jackson County children. At one point, no one was sure if there would be enough to go around because with time winding down, the Salvation Army found itself with 175 angels that were not adopted.

"Even though it seems like it's not going to happen. It always happens," Capt. Andy Bailey said. "At the last minute, last few days, companies came together and donated money. We went shopping and picked out what we needed for the children. So the community embraces one another. It is loving your neighbor as yourself. That's what they're doing down here."

Dineka Fairley said without the generosity of the community, her children would be heartbroken this Christmas.

"It means so much," said Fairley. "Without them, they probably wouldn't have hardly anything under the tree because it's just me, single income, and what I do is mostly for them. I spend all my money taking care of them with clothes and food, so Christmas is almost what's left over. If I could donate, I would, because people like me need the help and I would give to them just like they give to me."

Salvation Army officials said about 40 volunteers helped distribute the toys.

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