Levittown Rescues Christmas for Nearly 1000 Children

Dec 26, 2020 | by Jeff Werner

LEVITTOWN >> More than 950 children in Bucks County awoke to a very merry Christmas on Friday morning thanks to the generosity of the community and the work of the Salvation Army’s Levittown Corps.

Just days before the holiday at its Levittown headquarters on Appletree Drive, the Salvation Army distributed a ton of toys, clothing and a supermarket gift card to between 500 and 600 families in need so they could surprise their children or grandchildren this Christmas.

Thanks to the generosity of the Bucks County community, The Salvation Army this year was able to provide presents to 962 children whose guardians could not afford them.

“We are so grateful Bucks County individuals, families, businesses and community organizations stepped up to be a blessing to the children,” said Captain Jessica Kelly, Corps Officer. “The pandemic has had devastating financial impacts on the people we serve. Children don’t always understand why they have very little under the tree. Thanks to the support we’ve received through our Angel Tree and Adopt A Family programs, we can take that burden off parents who are struggling to make ends meet. Their children will have gifts to open on Christmas morning and food on their table.”

The lead up to the big distribution begins in October when the Salvation Army begins taking applications from eligible families, including the collection of gift wish lists, shoe and clothing sizes.

The wishes are them printed out on tags and hung on Angel Trees that are set up throughout local schools, restaurants and businesses during the holiday season. Community “angels” then help fulfill the wishes by purchasing the gifts and clothing and donating them back to the cause.

“It’s amazing how this community pours out to each other. It’s remarkable to see,” said Kelly. “They know how to take care of each other. And it’s all of Bucks County. It’s Levittown. It’s Richboro. It’s Bristol. It’s Bensalem. It’s all of them. And not all the donors are crazy wealthy. They just want to do something for other people.

“This is Bucks County taking care of each other,” Kelly adds. “They are the ones buying for their neighbors and giving Christmas. We, as the Salvation Army, just facilitate it and make it happen.”

During the big distribution, parents pick up the donations, which are placed inside garbage bags to preserve the anonymity; take them home; wrap the gifts; and then place them under their trees.

“For all the kid knows, mom and dad bought it or Santa brought it. That’s the really cool part,” said Kelly. “Even though this year was so hard, they still get to give Christmas. There still gets to be fun and laughter on Christmas morning.

“I hope we have given them a little bit of fun and joy. And for the parents, too,” adds Kelly. “And a reminder that we’re going to make it through and we’re going to be okay.”

Helping to bring it all together were the volunteers of the Salvation Army, which Kelly calls unbelievable.

“They are crazy wonderful,” she said. “They are amazing. They come in with positive attitudes. They come in ready to go. And it’s not like they have to do one thing. They will do anything because they just want to make a difference.”

The gift distribution was held in tandem with The Salvation Army’s campaign to “Rescue Christmas” and provide holiday help to the growing number of people who are suffering from the economic effects of COVID-19.

The need for gifts, food and financial assistance is greater than ever, said Kelly, and funds raised through the iconic red kettles are at risk this year due to the health crisis, the national coin shortage, and more people shopping online instead of in person.

“This year’s gift giveaway is one more example that The Salvation Army is still here, even during these difficult times,” said Kelly.


Original Source: Bucks Local News

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