Salvation Army distributes toys and turkeys

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX)-The Salvation Army spent much of day Monday delivering holiday happiness in East Biloxi.

Volunteers distributed thousands of toys and tons of turkeys.

South Mississippi residents gave generously this year, helping meet a need that's greater than ever because of the ailing economy.

Volunteers braved a frigid morning loading boxes of food and smoked turkeys into a long line of waiting cars.

"I am freezing", said one volunteer, who still carried out her duties with a big smile.

Among the volunteers: Mississippi's lieutenant governor.

"Good morning, good morning! How are you?" said Phil Bryant, as he loaded a smoked turkey into a family's car.

"It's great to make some Christmas dinner for some folks that may not have had it during these tough economic times. And it's great to be part of a Christian movement like the Salvation Army who help these wonderful people at this most important time of the year," said the lieutenant governor.

As volunteers passed out food for the Christmas table, other Santa's helpers distributed toys for under the tree.

"Just going to have to shop for this one Miss Evelyn," said one volunteer, helping sort large bags of toys which covered the tables.

The need this holiday season is great.

"It looks like it's going to be far more than last year. We haven't got the final numbers yet. We know that it looks like three thousand families in Harrison County alone. And of course we're dealing with six counties. So, who knows what it will be when we get done," said Major Will Cundiff with the Salvation Army.

Robert Williams' family is sure grateful for the holiday help.

"It means a lot. Because the economy is bad and times are hard, so we're just thankful."

Wanda Lowe has helped pass out the toys for some 20 years. It's the highlight of the year for many Salvation Army workers.

"We get a lot out of it. It takes us all through the year. What we do here today, the smiles we see on people's faces. And the kids. We've covered every child. And there's no child that's going to be left out," Lowe said.

A Mississippi company donated 1000 turkeys for needy families this year. "Polk's Meats" of Magee delivered 500 to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and another 500 to the Salvation Army in Jackson.